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About the book

This plain and concise handbook is a useful instrument for Yacht Design students and an enjoyable
reading for boat builders and boat owners who want to learn more about their yachts. The author
takes the reader by the hand and leads him step by step through an overall check of all yacht design
aspects, with useful suggestions and a few tricks of the trade.
The author
Massimo Gregori Grgi experience starts in the 70s with the Westlawn School of Yacht Design. In
1976 he founded Yankee Delta Studio and since then never stopped designing yachts. He has taught at
the Yacht Design Master of Milan, Venice and Shanghai. For the same Publisher he has written two
naval architecture handbooks: Il Progetto della Nave and Interior Yacht Design, the latter four-
handed with Professor Francesca Lanz. He lives and works in a farm on the Tuscany hills.
This book is sponsored by

Copyright 2015 by FrancoAngelis.r.l., Milano, Italy.

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Chapter 1. The hull design

1.1. Abstract
1.2. The first moves

Chapter 2. The planning hulls

2.1. Abstract
2.2. The reference network
2.3. The main hull lines
2.4. Some hints of hydrostatics
2.5. The ships weights
2.6. The rule of the thumb
2.7. A short preliminary check
2.8. More sections
2.9. Managing the hull shape
2.10. Flank ahead

Chapter 3. The displacing hull

3.1. Abstract
3.2. The hull lines
3.3. A short preliminary calculation
3.4. The weight modifications
3.5. Back to the drawing
3.6. The decks

Chapter 4. The mathematics of the hull

4.1. The displacement
4.2. The comparison coefficients
4.2.1. The prismatic coefficient
4.2.2. The block coefficient
4.2.3. The fineness coefficient
4.3. The unitary displacement

Chapter 5. Stability
5.1. The centre of gravity
5.2. The transverse metacentric height
5.2.1. The metacentre
5.3. The effects of the transverse metacentric height
5.4. The stability
5.5. The inclining experiment
5.6. The longitudinal metacentric height

Chapter 6. The propulsion

6.1. The fixed pitch propeller
6.1.1. The propellers structure
6.2. The pitch
6.3. The slip
6.4. The pitch calculation
6.5. The diameter calculation
6.6. The cavitation
6.7. The As/Ad ratio
6.8. The clearance
6.9. The shaft line
6.10. The stern tunnels
6.11. The controllable pitch propeller
6.12. The jet propulsion

Chapter 7. Rudder
7.1. The rudder effect
7.2. A design guideline
7.3. The rudder machine

Chapter 8. The building materials

8.1. Abstract
8.2. The wood
8.2.1. Wood: a live substance
8.2.2. The building techniques
8.2.3. The strake planking
8.2.4. The clinker
8.2.5. The cross laminated wood
8.2.6. The marine plywood
8.2.7. The unfit wood composites
8.3. The light alloy
8.4. The steel
8.5. The fibreglass
8.6. The ferrocement
8.7. The fairing and the painting

Chapter 9. The engine room

9.1. The main engines (MMEE)
9.1.1. The characteristic curves
9.2. The gases exhaust line
9.3. The comburent
9.4. The ventilation trunks
9.5. Cooling water
9.6. The gen sets
9.7. The control room
9.8. More machineries and arrangement

Chapter 10. The plants

10.1. Abstract
10.2. The pumps
10.3. The bilges drain
10.4. The fresh water
10.5. The deck washing
10.6. The firefighting
10.7. The fuel supply
10.8. The black waters
10.9. The electric plant
10.10. The air conditioning
10.11. The lockers ventilation

Chapter 11. The tonnage

Chapter 12. The mooring manoeuvres

12.1. Abstract
12.2. The equipment number
12.3. The chain
12.4. The anchor
12.5. The roadstead mooring
12.6. The windlass
12.7. The hawse pipe
12.8. The cleats and fairleads
12.9. The capstans

Chapter 13. The classification Registers

Chapter 14. The general arrangement plan

14.1. Pinpoint the design parameters
14.2. The general arrangement plan
14.3. The lower deck layout
14.4. Is the arrangement aboard?
14.5. The main deck layout
14.6. Hints of ergonomics

Chapter 15. The executive plans

15.1. The feasible drawings and the essential information
15.2. The specifications and the bill of quantities
15.3. The owners cabin
15.4. The guests cabins
15.5. The toilets
15.6. The crew quarters
15.7. The kitchen
15.8. The pilothouse
15.9. The sitting room

Chapter 16. The details and the tricks

16.1. The differences from the household furniture
16.2. The doors
16.3. The natural lighting
16.4. The artificial lighting
16.5. The shower
16.6. The bathroom appliances
16.7. The curtains
16.8. The mirrors
16.9. The plugs and the sockets
16.10. The ceilings
16.11. The floors
16.12. The sofas and the armchairs

Chapter 17. The furniture materials

17.1. The marine plywood
17.2. The solid wood
17.3. The briar
17.4. The types of wood
17.5. The stonework
17.6. The fabrics
17.7. The leather
17.8. The leather imitation
17.9. The paint

Chapter 18. The deck arrangement

18.1. The aft cockpit
18.2. The sunbathing areas
18.3. The Fly bridge

Chapter 19. The safety on board

19.1. The emergency escapes
19.2. The life rafts and the life jackets

Chapter 20. The design for all

The design for all: a call for ethics

Chapter 21. The refit

The refit of an old vessel

Chapter 22. The drafting

22.1. The drawings dimensions
22.2. The drawings scale

Chapter 23. The survey, the management and the sea trials

Digest of Massimos principles

Conversion Table

To Giulia and Leonardo,
beloved grandchildren.
Quelli che sinnamoran di pratica sanza scienzia son come
lnocchier chentra in navilio sanza timone o bussola, che mai ha
certezza di dove si vada*

Leonardo da Vinci

* Those who fall in love with practice without science are like the helmsman who sails without rudder or compass, and never
knows where hes going.

First of all let me apologize to all the readers of this book for its language, which might sound
somehow weird to the English-speaking. I managed to write this text in English, which is not my
mother tongue, and Im sure that I made several mistakes, some of them possibly funny. In any case I
tried to stick to a language as plain as possible: at the end of the day this handbook is addressed to the
very beginner.
Someone might wonder why I didnt entrust the version of this book to a professional translator.
There are several reason, but the main one is that only a vocational translator (not easy to spot), or the
author himself, could render the technical parts. So: please forgive me and do focus on the content,
not on the form.
This text follows two former books of mine, written in Italian and printed by the same Publisher in
2009. I wrote one of them (namely Interior yacht design) four-handed, with the invaluable
contribution of a co-author, professor Francesca Lanz. She took care of the priceless theoretical and
cultural sections concerning the background of contemporary interior yacht design, which I have not
included in this handbook, due to its inherently practical purpose.
The students of Yacht Design courses or masters come from all-over the world: in my recent
classes I had very few Italians while the majority of the students were from Brazil, Spain, Greece,
Romania, Germany, Lebanon, Turkey, Mexico, Uruguay, Chorea, China from everywhere. The only
common language in this Babel is English, and this is the inspiring motivation for this handbook.
For the formulas I have decided to use the simple symbols of * as a multiplier, / for
divisions, # for number.

Thanks to Jotun Marine Paints and Coatings, which is the main financial sponsor of this book.
Jotun is a Company which employs some of the best people I ever met in my career. Not only
competent and professional, but also kind and caring. I wish I could thank all of them, name by name,
but its a crowd: let me remind (ladies first) Iil Celik, Baak Kanat, Gemma Gonzales Ferrer and
then Albert Grau, Carlo Pertini
POLI.DESIGN of Politecnico di Milano runs a Yacht Design Master, called MYD, where I taught
for several years: actually a large section of the original text is nothing else but the collection of the
lecture notes that I wrote for my lessons. I wish to thank the Politecnico and professor Andrea Ratti
for choosing this text. A considerable help to address this book on its road.
Im grateful to Michele Stefno and Gianni Bani: they work with me side by side, took care of the
figures, tables, charts, designed the book cover: their help was invaluable for the final result of the
Mss. Katia Forte is a professional translator: she lent a hand, having a quick (and yet qualified)
look at the text, highlighting my worst mistakes. Many thanks.
Thanks to Francesca Lanz, a professor, a professional and a friend, who allowed me to re-write a
part of the book that we wrote together in 2009.
Some of the figures of this handbook are taken from existing yachts or from different marine
industry builders catalogues. Thanks to all of them.
And I mainly wish to thank the readers of this book: this work would be useless without them.
Chapter 1
The hull design

1.1. Abstract

The word hull refers to the part of the ship made of the dead works, or topside (above the
floating line, also called Load Water Line or LWL), and the quick works, or bottom (below the
floating line). There are many types of hulls. The first and main difference is between merchant ships
and pleasure crafts. I preliminarily wish to clarify that I use the words ship and vessel in an all-
inclusive meaning: dont just think of ocean liners. Among professional hulls there are cargoes,
chemicals, gas, oil and containers carriers, ferries, tug boats, supply vessels, pilot and fishing boats
(among which there are several different types). There are professional hulls for military purpose,
from submarines to aircraft carriers. Pleasure crafts belong to a few categories, almost consistent
according to their propulsion: sailing boats (racers or cruisers), motorsailers, motor vessels
including displacing or semi displacing hulls and planning boats. This list only refers to single hull
vessels: but we shouldnt forget the existence of catamarans, trimarans and hovercrafts. Besides,
theres no precise border between one type and another: there are pleasure submarines, fishing boats
or tug boats converted into super yachts and so on. Several books have been written about the
sailboats design, and I wont therefore care about those vessels. The books dedicated to motor boats
design are fewer: and this is what this text tries to take care of.

1.2. The first moves

The very first step is choosing which type of hull were going to design. Well go through two
different hypothesis: a displacing hull and a planning one. This should clarify the differences. Shortly:
every hull, while sailing through the water, creates a set of trochoidal waves. The first wave crest is
near the bow. The distance of the second wave crest from the first is function of the vessel speed. The
maximum possible speed for a displacing boat is function of the waterline length: as the ships speed
increases, the second wave crest shifts backwards, till it reaches the transom. The bow tilts upwards,
the resistance increases ... and theres no way that a displacing hull can sail quicker than this: her
displacing shape is such that she cannot overcome her limit-speed (see figure # 1).
Fig. 1

At maximum speed the resistance curve has a peak: exceeding this speed is not only a question of
available power, but mainly of hull shape. Theres a formula to calculate with good approximation
the maximum allowed speed for a displacing hull: V = K * . The speed V is in knots, WL is
measured in feet. The K parameter equals roughly 1.34 for the type of displacing hull that we
consider, but might be different for other kind of hull designs. Incidentally, I wish to mention that one
knot speed is equivalent to 1.852 metres per hour and that a foot corresponds to 0.3048 metres. In the
example of figure # 1 the WL (waterline length) is 22.75 metres, equal to 74.5 feet. The square root of
74.5 is 8.63. The limit-speed is therefore 1.34 * 8.63 = 11.56 knots. The planning hull shape, on the
contrary, is such that it generates a lifting effect: in other words, the vessel can slide above the second
wave crest and plane. The uplift force that supports this type of hull is no more simply hydrostatic,
doesnt only obey to Archimedes principle but, while sailing, produces an hydrodynamic lift which
partly raises the boat above the water. We shall study two different hull lines: planning and
displacing. The design parameters will change but the drafting method shall be the same.
Chapter 2
The planning hulls

2.1. Abstract

The step to begin with is deciding the ships dimensions. How can a beginner decide which width
(or beam) is fit for a given ships length? And which is the correct draft? In absence of experience,
the only feasible way is gathering as many information as possible from magazines, books, brochures.
It shall turn out clear that the Length All Out (LOA) versus Maximum Beam (B) ratio (L/B) is
different for various hull families, and isnt even coherent. I quote two examples of hulls designed by
my Studio:
a displacing motor yacht, with a LOA of 42 metres: the beam is 8.50 metres and L/B is 4.941;
a planning motor yacht, with a LOA of 18 metres: the beam is 5.60 metres and L/B is 3.214.
The above values and ratios should not be appraised as a truth. They only relate to particular hulls,
designed by my Studio for specific needs. What really counts is understanding that the L/B ratio
changes considerably on varying the ships dimensions. Lets absurdly suppose that the 42 metres ship
had the same L/B ratio of the 18 metres motor yacht. The result would be B = 42 / 3.214 = 13.06
metres, instead of 8.50. Such a width would be enormous and would cause an amount of problems.
First it would arise an abnormal metacentric height (well see later what it means); the main section
area would increase, and therefore the motion resistance would incredibly grow; last but not least, it
would laugh every sailor mans head off, worldwide. As another bizarre example, lets imagine that
the smaller vessel had the same L/B ratio of the larger one: it would be B = 18 / 4.941 = 3.64 metres,
kind of an unsteady torpedo, with no space inside for any arrangement. We deduce that the width of a
hull doesnt increase linearly with its length. The L/B ratio changes in different types or families of
hulls: the ratio of displacing vessels is different from planning yachts and so on. A good help for a
beginner is drafting a spreadsheet, showing dimensions, ratios and data concerning as many vessels
as he/she comes to know: a lot of very useful curves will be generated. A few examples of ratios,
besides L/B:
Waterline Length (LWL) versus Waterline Beam (BWL);
Length All Out (LOA) versus Displacement ();
Weight (or Displacement) versus available Power;
the above said ratio versus speed (S).
The more input data, the more reliable the curves. Once you plot the curves, many points might
result above or below the graph: discard them light-heartedly.

2.2. The reference network

Lets presume that the main dimensions of the hull are set. The first vessel is a planning hull with
the following dimensions:
LOA 32.4 metres;
B 7.40 metres.
A reasonable draft, as per the average data concerning existing yachts (see above), is about one
metre and a half. Currently the project proceeds through a trail-and-error system, by approximation.
Our target is to represent the three dimensional hull body by means of a two-dimensions drawing.
Imagine its not a vessel, but a salami. We want to cut it with different planes and find out which
shapes do come out. We set now a reference network: it shall be the guideline for all the subsequent
design work. Two basic lines are: the centre line, aka the vessels axis of longitudinal symmetry; the
base line, aka the ground line, a reference for all heights. We add several vertical lines: they stand for
the planes, perpendicular to the centre line that cut across the hull. These lines are called stations
and must positively be equidistant. Theyre numbered, starting with zero aft: in other words, station #
zero corresponds to the beginning of the designed floating line, or sometimes to the rudder stock
position. In this example the common interval between them is 970 millimetres, or 0.97 metres (See
Figure # 2).

Fig. 2
The stations of the body plan, or transverse sections, are somehow alike the regular knife-cuts of a
salami lying down along the centre line and perpendicular to it, and the salami slices shape equals the
shape of the ships frames. The frames are the actual ribs of the hull body and might be built out
of steel, wood, light alloy and more. The stations are the geometrical shape of the vessels transverse
sections. Frames and stations might or might not correspond in the real construction: at the end of the
day, its the designers choice. My Studios policy is to have them corresponding. At the present
design stage, the common interval of 970 millimetres is arbitrary, just an example. Lets trace now
some lines, parallel to the centre line and again equidistant: those are the buttocks and cut the hull
with planes parallel to the amidships plane. In a way, its like cutting the salami along the longer axis:
unusual and yet possible. We use the same common interval: 970 millimetres. The buttocks are called
with letters: A, B and C. Please note that the same letters appear aside station # 14 in the upper part
of the drawing. Its because we will use station # 14 as the centre line of the body plan sections, as
seen from bow and stern. There is also a strange symbol, cabalistic like: a circle, partly crossed by
two symmetrical arches: it means that station # 14 is used as a centreline. Then we add more lines:
those are the waterlines, they are parallel to the base line and their common interval is 300
millimetres. This time we plan to cut the hull with planes parallel to the ground: like slicing the
salami with cuts parallel to the cutting board (see figure # 3), and mind your hands! We call these
lines WL 3, WL 6 etcetera. The reference network is now complete and its the right time to introduce

Principle number one: the reference network must show, exactly alike, on each and every
drawing of the vessel.

Its somehow like a map for the explorer: its absolutely indispensable and no designer should
ever forget it.
Fig. 3

2.3. The main hull lines

Lets draw the main lines of the vessel, both in plan view and elevation: the sheer line, the keel
and the chine (see figure # 4). We might wonder why these lines have such a shape and not another.
The designer should acknowledge the existence of some fixed borders, before he/she frees his/her
The lines must be fair, meaning that they shouldnt show bumps, hollows, sharp edges;
the lines must belong to the naval architecture logic.
Its a thousand-years-old science and no one expects a beginner to launch innovations, at the same
time maverick and winning. The drawings lines need to be fair because they represent the actual, real
lines of the vessel: if theyre bumpy, the hull will be equally uneven. As how to design such lines, Im
perfectly aware that nowadays a computer does it for us. But here is my

Principle number two: a computer is not an intelligent machine that helps the fool: on the
contrary, its a fool machine that only works in the hands of the intelligent.
This is why I shall spend some time explaining what old-time designers (such as me) used to do
slowly, before we let a computer do the same quickly. The good old way of designing the hull lines
started from the drafting table. The drawing used to be drafted on transparent tracing-paper and the
lines were created by splines, handmade out of wood, plastic, light alloy. Some splines had a constant
section: other had tapered ends. Some were more stiff, some more soft. Their length ranged from a
few centimetres to three and even more metres. Every designer had his own accurately guarded stock
of splines. The splines were held in the chosen position (curves and fair lines) by means of shaped
weights, called leads. They had a kind of nail on one end. Probably, figure # 5 explains it better
than words.
The drafting table used to be perfectly horizontal, so that the lead weights wouldnt fall from the
splines. The designer would run his Indian-ink pen along the spline, avoiding ink stains. Some shapes
couldnt be designed by the splines and were traced by drawing curves, made of plastic or wood.
Figure # 6 shows only a few of the existing hundreds.

Fig. 4

The ones in the figure are from my Studio and are made of mahogany: nowadays they are
unobtainable, as the last craftsman who made them is sailing the heavens since long time. A complete
hull project required the designer some force and physical resistance. Now the same lines are
generated by a computer in a fraction of a fraction of time: we have more free time, less headaches
and maybe also less satisfaction. Coming back to the drawing: it shows only half of the sheer line
plan view.

Fig. 5

Fig. 6

As a matter of fact we only design half of every vessels part that is symmetrical in respect to the
centre line, or plane. Towards the bow the sheer line doesnt end with a sharp edge but joins to a
circle. This is not just an arguable aesthetic choice: a sharp-end bow would be difficult to build and
would be a weak spot, right in a highly stressed area. Lets draw some transverse sections starting
from the main frame, the wider one, the one that (in theory) holds the projection of all the other
sections. In the example its section # 14. We know the height of the sheer line and its width. We also
know the chine height, its inner and outer width (it has a small flat surface, a skid). The keel is on the
centre line, and its height is known. Lets join the sheer point with the outer chine. The outer chine
with the inner chine, and this point to the keel. We have a rough transverse section drawing of section
# 14 (see figure # 7). The hull side, as is now, is a flat surface and it will look ugly and bulky. We can
therefore insert one or more mouldings, that is to say one or more small steps. Their line and the
shadow that underlines them shall lighten the hull side. The line representing the hull side, as well as
the one showing the bottom, is now straight, but generally is not. These lines are actually arches,
convex or concave. The drawings shall report the value of their camber. Obviously every change of
the sheer, the chine or the keel design shall sensibly modify the sections shape.

2.4. Some hints of hydrostatics

Lets skip for a while the drawing to consider a few hydrostatics hints. As earlier said, part of the
hull is above the load waterline (LWL) and its called dead works. Another portion lays below the
LWL and is the quick works, or bottom. The latter is the subject of a few basic hydrostatic hints. The
floating vessel obeys to Archimedes principle of flotation: The upper buoyant force that is exerted
on a body immersed in a fluid is equal to the weight of the fluid that the body displaces. The ship in
the water moves apart, or in other words displaces, a volume of water. The weight of this quantity of
water is equal to the weight of the vessel: neither more nor less. Equal. Thats why the vessels
weight is called displacement. Just to make an example: if the boat weights 49 metric tons she will
sink until shell displace roughly 49 cubic metres of water. Roughly because the specific weight of
the water is different from lake to sea, from sea to sea, from summer to winter.
Fig. 7

Only distilled water weights exactly 1,000 kilograms per cubic metre. Lake water weights 1,012
kilograms per cubic metre, Mediterranean water weights 1,023, Persian Gulf water 1,032. The
specific weight of the water is different, but the ships weight is still the same, as well as the weight
of the water she displaces. She will just float higher above the water in the Gulf rather than in a lake.
On small vessels the difference isnt significant, while on a large ship it might considerably change
the immersion. There are an infinite number of small forces, called vectors, which push the hull
upwards. They converge in a single application point, which is inside the hull, somewhere along the
centre plane and somewhere above the base line. Its called Centre of Buoyancy, or CB. The weight
of a yacht is the sum of a huge amount of unitary loads: some are permanent, such as the structure, the
engines, the tanks (empty), the mooring equipment, the plants, the arrangements and much more. Some
of the weights are variable, like the crew, the fuel, the fresh water, the bilge water. For our design
work we consider the half load weight: all the fixed ones plus half the variable. Every weight
increase shall worsen the vessels performance, as the speed of every vehicle (a car, a bike, an
airplane) is highly influenced by the weight/power ratio. Out of my experience I feel like
Principle number three: during my long career Ive never seen a vessel that, at launching,
proved to be lighter than expected.

All of them were heavier. To be honest, they all were also late on schedule and more expensive
than expected. Therefore the designer should be cautious and lavish while estimating the vessels
weight. And possibly also while committing himself to cost and delivery schedule.

2.5. The ships weights

All the single load forces, or vectors, converge in a single vector and its point of application is
inside the hull, somewhere along the vessels centre plane and somewhere above the base line. Its
called Centre of Gravity, or CG (sometimes simply G). The design of the vessel foresees a specific
(half) load waterline position and a planned longitudinal trim, meaning that the ship must float on a
straight line, not down by the stern or by the bow. The ship is straight on the designed waterline only
if the longitudinal position of the Centre of Buoyancy corresponds to the longitudinal position of the
Centre of Gravity. The ship would trim bow down in case CG were more ahead of CB, and stern
down in the opposite event. Therefore its important to analyse carefully the vessels weights: in case
of a mistake sometimes there is a remedy, and sometimes not. In any case mind the

Principle number four: as a general rule, straightening a stern-down vessel is feasible, even if it
might be difficult. Straightening a bow-down vessel is about impossible.

Similarly if the ship is heavier on one side of the centre plane she will list in the same direction of
the load excess. In any case the hull will sink unevenly to compensate more weight with more
displaced volume of water. Keeping under strict control the amount of weight and the position of CG
is a designers duty: its not that difficult. Some of the weights are easy to evaluate, such as the
engines, the gen sets, the pumps, the boilers, the shafts, the propellers, the anchors a huge amount
of items supplied by manufacturers who shall give the designer all the necessary data: namely the
weight of each item and the position of its centre of gravity. Guessing the same for the arrangements is
a little trickier. We might wonder which is the weight of a bed, or a sofa, or a wooden floor. The
procedure is more boring than difficult. For example a bed: the dimensions of the top are 1,90 metres
length by 0,80 metres width by 0,018 metres thickness. Please mind the units of measure: 18
millimetres equals 0,018 metres. Dont ever mix metres with centimetres or millimetres: stick to one
single unit, always the same, otherwise youll mess everything up. Coming back to the bed top
dimensions: to get the tops volume you multiply the three dimensions: 1.90 * 0.80 * 0.018 = 0.02736
cubic metres. If the bed were made of marine plywood, whose specific weight is roughly 450
kilograms per cubic metre, the tops weight would be 0.02736 * 450 = 12.312 kilograms. Its centre of
gravity would roughly correspond to the centre of its geometrical figure. Theres more: the paint, the
glue, the screws, some joining rulers: lets round off to 13 kilograms. By the same system we can
calculate the weight of the beds sides, the floors, the cabinets and so on. Theres a hidden item: its
the network of rulers of cheap wood (mainly pine) that lies between the ships structures and the
arrangements. A kind of interface. All in all the weights calculation is a long, demanding job. Thanks
heaven theres a shortcut, an useful rule of the thumb (Ill spend later a few lines about this).
Following this rule, and out of experience, the weight of an arrangement (including floor, cabinets,
partition walls, bulkheads, network, ceiling) ranges roughly from 95 to 110 kilograms per square
metre. A minimalist set of furniture shall be lighter than a classic one. A kitchen or a bathroom shall
be heavier than a sitting room. In other words: you multiply the area of a cabin, a saloon, a bathroom
(in plan view, square metres) by the above said weight and you get the total weight of that room. The
position of its centre of gravity would correspond, in plan view, to the centre of the geometrical
figure, while its elevation shall be roughly one/third of the height above the floor. For instance: the
saloons area is 23 square metres and it supposedly weights 105 kilograms per square metre. The
total weight is therefore 23 * 105 = 2,415 kilograms. Lets add 10% (241.5 kilograms) for the
electric appliances, wiring, hardware, accessories, fan coils and we get 2,415 + 241.5 = 2,656.5.
Remembering principle number three we round off the figure to 2,660 kilograms. Once all the weights
and the position of their centres of gravity are detailed we list them into a simple chart, as in figure #
The first column shows which item were considering; the second lists its weight in kilograms; the
third measures the longitudinal arm, aka the distance of its centre of gravity from a common point,
usually station # 0; the fourth lists the moments, that is to say a force found multiplying the weight
by the arm, measured in kilogram-metres. We sum up the weights (lets call this figure w), we sum
the moments (aka m) then we divide the sum of the moments by the sum of the weights (m/w) and
we get the position of the global centre of gravity along the centre line. Similarly we find the position
of the vertical centre of gravity: just insert in the third column the distance of the centre of gravity of
each weight from the base line and then proceed as ditto. In case we find out that the longitudinal
position of the centre of gravity doesnt correspond to the position of the centre of buoyancy we shall
move some weight till we reach the perfect balance. But remember

Principle number five: dont ever attempt to balance the weights of a vessel by the fuel or the
water tanks.

The ship might result even on the designed waterline with full tanks
and out of balance when empty. Its a lot wiser to try and move the batteries, may be the gen sets, the
water maker, the windlasses and so on. Perhaps we could still move the kitchen or a bathroom, the
heavier rooms among the arrangements. The next principle states a general rule:

Principle number six: the weight of a ship can roughly be divided into three main blocks. One
third is the structures; one third is the arrangements; one third is the machinery and the plants.

Joinery Weights and Centres of Gravity

Item Weight [kg] Longitudinal arm [m] Moment [kgm]
Bow cabin 1100 12,3 13530
Guest Cabin 1 875 9,5 8312,5
Guest Cabin 2 875 9,5 8312,5
Bow Bathroom 530 11 5830
Guest Bathroom 410 8 3280
Astern Cabin 1230 6 7380
Astern Bathroom 635 5,5 3492,5
Crew Cabin 810 14 11340
Crew Bathroom 435 13 5655
Galley 1350 6 8100
Main Saloon 3565 5 17825
Wheelhouse 630 7 4410
Cockpit Joinery 980 2,5 2450
Fly Bridge Joinery 1345 6 8070
14770 7,31 107987,5

Fig. 8

2.6. The rule of the thumb

Its a worldwide known rule: its about measuring something by extending an arm in front of you,
closing your fist and raising your thumb. Then you close one eye, turn your hand 90 and measure the
dimensions by the thumb. Its a guesstimate and there is no accuracy. Yet, once its backed up by a
few years experience, its a rule that works: you will realize how you get to the same results after
days and days of drawings and calculations or in a few seconds by the rule of the thumb. I wish
to encourage my readers: you can initially skip the boring weight calculation: with a little practice
youll be able to guess their amount and centre of gravity location.

2.7. A short preliminary check

Lets go back to the first lines of the hull drawing. We have drafted the main section (# 14). Part of
it lies above the waterline and part below. We must now check whether our design is congruent with
the planned characteristics, namely whether the WL level (that for the time being we have drafted by
the rule of the thumb) matches with the hypothetic 110,000 kilograms displacement we have in mind.
We use one of the comparison coefficients: these parameters are normally calculated at the end of the
design work and we shall see later how theyre found. For the time being lets assume that we already
know one of them: the Prismatic Coefficient or Cp. It compares the immersed volume of the hull (aka
) to a solid which transverse section is the immersed area of the main section (Am) and which
length is the waterline length (LWL). The formula to calculate it is Cp = /(Am * LWL). Naval
architecture tells us that the Cp value for yachts having a hull similar to our design ranges from 0.75
to 0.85. The hull is pretty full. Lets therefore assume a 0.80 figure: were now able to solve the
formula. The variables are: Cp, and weve set it to be 0.80; LWL, and we just have to measure it on
the drawing, finding 27.22 metres: we only miss . The inverse formula becomes = Cp * Am *
LWL. Lets introduce some numbers: Am, as measured on the drawing, equals to 2.599 m2. Please
mind that the drawing only shows half of the transverse section: we must therefore multiply the area
by two: the total is 4.5426 m2. The LWL length is 27.22 metres. Once we insert these figures in the
formula it becomes: = 0.80 * 5.198 * 27.22 = 112.538 m3. Lets multiply the volume by the specific
weight of a cubic metre of Mediterranean salt water (see 2.4), aka 112.538 * 1.023 = 115.126
kilograms. As first approach its acceptable and consistent with our design hypothesis. And even so,
even if the figure shows that were on the right way, still its only a rough estimate. Lets absurdly
imagine that the final result was 80,000 kilograms, or 150,000: in the first case we should have to
sink the hull, searching for the missing volume, and vice versa in the second event.
2.8. More sections

Lets now draw two more sections, quite important for our design efficiency: station # 28, at the
beginning of the LWL towards bow, and station # 0, at the LWL end backwards. On transverse view
(see figure # 9), the half trace of station # 28 is on the right side of the centre line, while station # 0 is
left of it. This happens because, customarily, the half stations from bow through amidships are drawn
right of the centre line, while the stations from amidships through the stern are drafted on its left. Its
clearly seen that the stations towards bow have a deeper angle, or dihedral or deadrise, than the ones
aft, and that theres a progressive change in the bottom shape. The reason is intuitive: the bow
sections crash into the waves and their shape must be such that they plough through them without hard
blows. Near the stern, where the waves wont hit, the hull needs flatter surfaces that give
hydrodynamic lift to the vessel at speed. Lets check which are the dihedrals of these stations,
measuring their elevation angles relative to the base line. Station # 28 is 43.48. Station # 14 is
16.15. Station # 0 is 6.20. Different dihedral values for the bottom stations shall seriously influence
the vessels performance. Theres no magic formula, nor a set of numbers, to link the hulls bottom
shape to the vessels performance. Its not just a question of speed: the ship must perform, but she
must also be seaworthy in bad weather conditions: she must have a reasonable ratio between the
engines power and her speed; she must sail safely also in a following sea and rough waves; she must
have the right stability and so forth. The dihedral values mentioned above are ideal for a pleasure
craft, meeting basic characteristics of comfort, safety, performance.
An offshore, high speed craft would certainly need totally different and deeper dihedron. On the
contrary the hull for a swamp hydroplane would need a completely flat bottom. As it goes, a deep
dihedron hull is bound to be highly seaworthy but needs great power to achieve a good speed: on the
contrary a flatter hull performs better at cruising speed, is less seaworthy and less stable in a
following sea. Figure # 9 also shows the hulls side. Its shape, near the stern, is about vertical but not
quite. The hull would look boxy in case its too upright: a design showing an angle of 5 or less
would not be appropriate, even though its just an aesthetic issue which has nothing to do with the
vessels performance.
Fig. 9

2.9. Managing the hull shape

What in case our first approach to the hull design is not satisfactory? May be that the sheer line, the
chine and the hull position give for mediocre transverse sections. Perhaps too flat, or too deep. We
must do some changes before we proceed. We need to figure the hull shape in three dimensions: it
should be clear enough that raising the chine line would create a deeper dihedron. A larger sheer line
would open or flatten the side sections and so on. The hull is a solid body, even though its shape is
irregular. Every change in one of its lines would necessarily bring a change in all the other forms.
Sometimes a slightly convex or concave shape of the transverse sections is beneficial for the vessels
performance. Convex bow sections reduce the impact into front waves, while concave sections
amidships allow for a softer ride.

2.10. Flank ahead

The preliminary calculations confirm that our design work is on the right way. Lets now complete
the transverse sections design. The drawings in figure # 10 doesnt show all the sections, namely only
one over four abaft amidships: in case we draw all of them, the sections traces would show on top of
each other, thus making the drawing an unreadable black spot. All the lines must be coherent and
squared. That is to say, for example, that the cross point between a buttock and a waterline in plan
view must correspond to the crossing point between the same forms in elevation and so forth. There
must be a strict interdependence between all the hull sections: I know that a dedicated PC program
does exactly this job but I believe that it should be clear why and how it happens. A computer is a
tool that speeds up the designers work, but doesnt replace his brains. Several slight modification
shall be done in case the hull lines arent totally coherent, such as change the transverse sections, or
the chine line or whatever else, with a patient trial-and-error procedure, until all forms are squared
up. Please remind

Principle number seven: yachts are made by centimetres, not by metres.

Fig. 10

That is to say, the modifications shall be made with a lancet, not with an axe. Once this design
work is completed we can draw all the missing sections, the lettering, the dimensioning and so on.
The hull in figure # 11 has two spray rails on the bottom: they are intended to increase the
hydrodynamic lift and pull the spray downwards.
Fig. 11
Chapter 3
The displacing hull

3.1. Abstract

Lets begin with a basic concept: theres no sharp, absolute border between planning and
displacing hulls. Its rather a smooth and gradual shape transition from one type to the other. The
drawing of a displacing hull is trickier than the previous one: we dont have any more sharp lines
joining sheer, chine and hull, but curved forms. The designer needs a great sensibility for the hull
shape and the capability of figuring out a three-dimensional body: all things which only time and
experience shall enhance.

3.2. The hull lines

The design work is similar to the one already described for the planning hull. The reference
network is the same and such are the fundamental lines of the hull. This time the common interval is
840 mm and for sure it doesnt coincide with the actual framing of the vessel.
The vessel that we consider has a 25 m. LOA and 6.30 m. B. Figure # 12 shows some important
differences with the drawing we saw before.
The more evident is the transverse sections drawing: its not drafted on the vessels lines but apart,
on the right side of the hull. Its only a stylish choice. Another remarkable difference is the quick
works profile: it shows a kind of nose: its a bow bulb, and we shall examine it later on. Probably
the most outstanding dissimilarity is the transverse section shape: once again we deal with the main
section, # 9, which shape is totally unlike the planning hull form.
Fig. 12

Side and bottom arent anymore straight lines but fair polylines, joined by a roundish section,
called bilge. In fact these kinds of vessels are known as round bilge hull. The lines show the
vessels deck in plan view and elevation, and the topgallant bulwarks. The bulwark is a part of the
hull which rises above the main deck. In figure # 13 its highlighted with a square box.
Fig. 13

3.3. A short preliminary calculation

We do a preliminary check like we already did in 2.7: in other words we verify whether the
designed floating line (LWL in figure # 12) fits the forecasted displacement of the vessel. The average
Cp for such a family of hulls ranges between 0.5 and 0.6. Lets assume a 0.50 figure. We measure the
half area of the immersed section, which equals 3.679 m2. The whole area is therefore 7.358 m2. The
LWL length is 22.75 metres. The renown formula is: = Cp * Am * LWL : in other words = 1.50 *
7.358 * 22.75 = 83.697 m3.
Its a correct volume that we take for good as half load displacement, being = 83.697 * 1.023 =
85.622 kilograms.

3.4. The weight modifications

Lets briefly suspend the displacing hull design to introduce an important concept: the vessels
weight range and change between the empty and full load conditions. On such a kind of yacht we shall
expect to have tanks for fresh water (3,000 litres), black waters (250 litres), white waters (400
litres), oily waters (500 litres), used engines oil (400 litres), new oil for machineries (200 litres),
fuel About the fuel topic we need to do a digression inside the digression: lets suppose that the
vessel has two four-stroke diesel engines releasing 600 hp each. This is the maximum output power,
but at cruising speed we would only use 80% of it, aka 2 * 600 * 0.80 = 960 hp. The specific fuel
consumption of any engine is shown on a chart, supplied by the engines builder. As a matter of
principle its placed around 190 grams x hp x hour. The fuel consumption on the vessel of our design
would therefore be 190 * 960 = 182,400 grams per hour, equal to some 183 kilograms per hour. Such
type of vessel is normally equipped with two diesel engine electric generators. Lets presume that one
generator releases 30 Kw/h (aka 30 kilowatts per hour) and the second one 12 Kw/h, for a total of 42
Kw/h. Also in this calculation we presume that the generators work at 80% of their maximum load,
therefore do roughly release 34 Kw/h. The ratio between Kw and Hp is 1.341: therefore 34 Kw/h
equal 45.6 hp. The generators fuel consumption shall be 190 * 45.6 = 8,664 grams per hour, equal to
some 8.7 kilograms per hour. The total fuel consumption on a hourly base is. 183 + 8.7 192 kg.The
maximum speed of the vessel comes from the renown formula , or
knots. We deem a consistent speed reduction, as we plan to use only 80% of
the power, thus assuming a constant speed of 10 knots. So, the vessel covers 10 nautical miles in an
hour, burning 192 kilograms of fuel. Lets figure out the vessel range as 450 nautical miles: it takes 45
hours to cover this distance at 10 knots speed. During this time lapse the fuel consumption shall be 45
* 192 = 8,640 kg. Unfortunately this is not the amount of fuel that we need to board: as it goes, part of
the fuel cannot be drawn because it remains in the tanks bottom and part of it fills the pipes, the filters
etcetera. The percentage of unusable fuel is roughly 10%: thereafter the total amount of fuel we need
is 8,640 + 864 = 9,504 kg. I wish to highlight that, up to now, the unit of measure has always been
kilograms: but at the fuel station you buy diesel by the litre, not by the kilogram. Diesel fuel is lighter
than water, on equal volume: it actually weights 850 kilograms per cubic metre. To accommodate
9,504 kilogram of fuel we need a total tanks volume of 11.2 m3.
Coming back to the variable weights calculation we have 4,750 kilograms between miscellany
tanks and 9,500 kilograms of fuel, for a total amount of 14,250 kilograms.
The huge difference between full load and empty vessel conditions affects many parameters: the
centre of gravity position, the stability, the draft, the speed. Actually the ship is never completely
empty, thus for the stability calculations a 10% load is assumed, and this condition is called ship at
arrival. Its not difficult to calculate how the draft changes with the weight modifications: an issue
that will be later debated.

3.5. Back to the drawing

Similarly to what we already did with the planning hull, lets add more elements to the drawing.
We decide what we want station # 0 and station # 18 look like. We also introduce a new element: the
mark of waterline # 10. We have now four points through which the waterline must surely pass: three
half breadths that we measure at the intersection of the transverse sections # 0, 7, 13, 18 and 23 with
the LWL, plus the LWL beginning (see figure # 14). Lets assume that the WL 10 mark is good for the
design were determined to achieve: this trace gives us the half breadth on the waterline of all the
stations. Now we add stations # 5 and # 14.
One might be puzzled by the ostensible arbitrariness of waterline # 10 shape. Actually, the trick is
examining body plans of similar existing vessels and gathering how, why and which parts our design
work assimilates, which ideas its worth blending into our project and which are the elements of
Going back to figure # 14: theres a brand new section, 45 inclined, which starts from the
transverse sections centreline. This section is called diagonal: its origin position and tilting angle
are totally arbitrary. Its a very useful section to verify the fairing of the round bilge area. The
designer can trace as many diagonals as he wants: the more you have, the easier is the control of the
hull shape trend. Figure # 14 shows the line generated by the intersection of the diagonal with the
transverse sections. It goes without saying that the diagonal line, as well as all the remaining lines
representing the hull, must be fair: in case it isnt well have to go over an adjustment work, as
described for the planning hull. Now we add more transverse sections, waterlines and buttocks,
always checking the fairing of lines and the collation of the intersections in the three views, till we
get to the complete hull lines drawing. I highlight a new element, in the aft section of the hull: its kind
of a fin or a centreboard, called skeg. Its main purpose is to increase the vessels course keeping
attitude in following sea, but also to protect from impacts the appendages, such as the propellers, the
brackets, the rudders. And what about the bulb bow? Books have been written and designers have
severely fought about this appendage, about its benefits and its shape. No doubt that the bulb bow
improves the performances of very large ships, where it has remarkable dimensions and its effect on
the waves generated by the hull is substantial. On the contrary its usefulness on minor vessels is
controversial. As for the form, in our design example it has an egg shape. Yet the debate on the topic
is open.

3.6. The decks

We design the deck and the deckhouse exactly with the same criteria we used to draft the hull,
naturally overlooking any hydrostatic issue. We cut the deck and deckhouse by means of the same
stations that we used for the hull, drafting this part of the vessel in three views.
Fig. 14
Chapter 4
The mathematics of the hull

4.1. The displacement

In 2.7 and 3.3 we used the Cp reverse formula to check, with rough approximation, whether the
immersed volume of the hull matches a realistic displacement for the type of yacht that were
designing. Its time now to calculate exactly the hull displacement. Im afraid Ive to say it again: I
know that all the dedicated design programs on every computer will supply the designer with the data
about volumes, displacements, stability and many more elements for several different immersion
values, both for a straight hull and for an inclined one. Yet I feel that understanding the process
through which it happens is fundamental, and it might also help to compensate for the contingent lack
of the beloved computer. Imagine that the Aliens have taken over our Earth and that no more computer
is working: we still have some elementary tools, such as paper, pencil, fingers for counting, the
multiplication table by heart and our brains.
Please note that figure # 15 shows that part of the transverse sections lies below the LWL (its the
quick works), while another part is above it (the dead works). Lets forget about the latter: our target
is to establish what immersed volume results from the integration of the transverse sections below the
LWL. We use the Simpsons rule: were talking of Mr. Thomas Simpson, not of Homer, of course.
This rule for the integral calculus is simple enough and was named after the 1700 British
mathematician, but the Italian Bonaventura Cavalieri and the German Johannes Kepler competed for
its authorship.
Fig. 15

Its one of the many possible rounded-up ways to calculate the volume of an irregular-shaped
body. All systems (Simpsons or the trapezoidal rule) are based on the averages law. First of all we
divide the LWL in an even number of spaces, which gives an uneven number of stations. Lets have a
look at the hull in 3.5: the common interval is 0.84 metres. As for the Simpsons rule we should set
the last station in correspondence to the LWL forward end: but theres a bow bulb, which sticks out
and needs to be considered while calculating the immersed volumes. Therefore we exceptionally set
the last station in correspondence to the bulb edge. We get 28 spaces and 29 stations, numbered from
# 0 to # 28 (see figure # 15).
Its time now to draw the Simpsons chart table, as per figure # 16: and yes, I must acknowledge
that a computer spreadsheet would be helpful (provided the Aliens allow us to use it).
The first column on the left, which title is Stations, lists the numbers of the transverse sections,
or stations.
The second columns headline is 1/2 areas and it is void, for the time being.
The third column is assigned to SM, which stands for Simpsons Multipliers. The rule is
simple but binding: the first and last numbers must be 1 and all the other shall come in succession: 4,
2, 4, 2, 4
Column # 4 title is SF, which stands for Simpsons Functions: its empty now, but we shall fill
it with the product obtained multiplying each half area by the corresponding Simpsons Multiplier.
The fifth column is assigned to M, meaning Multiplier. This time the numbers are the same as
the stations.
Column six is entitled Sm (please note that m is now a lower case letter) and stands for
Simpsons moments: it shall later list a number of moments (I wish to recall that a moment is
the product of a force by a distance, or arm).
The top right corner reminds that the CI (aka Common Interval) is 0.84 metres.
The cells that shall brief the figures of volume, Mediterranean displacement, Gulf displacement
and LCB are already set at the left bottom corner of the chart table. We must now fill the second
column with the half areas of the immersed sections, corresponding to each station.
Yes, I know that nowadays any computer program will measure these areas quickly and with
extreme accuracy, but before the birth of these processors, designers used a planimeter (see figure
# 17).

Fig. 16

The draftsman had to follow the contour of a two-dimensional figure, centring the line with a small
red dot within a magnifying lens. Then the reading was to be multiplied by a correction factor for the
scale and the result was the area of the figure. The values were plotted on a chart, to check that there
were no blatant misreadings (see figure # 18). In my office theres still planimeter, hidden in a
drawer: you never know (the Aliens could be behind the corner). Nowadays reading the half areas
figures by means of a computer dedicated program is a lot easier and quicker, of course. In any case I
suggest that you double check, following

Principle number eight: checking twice never killed anybody.

Or, if you prefer, confidence is good, checking is better.

Fig. 17

We insert the half areas values, either read from the curve or from the computer, in the second
column of the chart table (see figure # 19).

Fig. 18

Now lets multiply the half areas figure by the corresponding Simpsons Multiplier and write the
result in the Simpsons Functions column: for example (lets take an easy one) the figure
corresponding to station # 7 shall be 2.008 * 4 = 8.032 . The chart table looks now like in figure #
Fig. 19

We sum all the Simpsons Functions, getting a 174.357 figure. We are now able to calculate the
immersed volume of the hull: the formula is (SF * CI *2)/3.

Fig. 20

We need to multiply by 2 because we have only read half the areas: dividing by 3 averages the
Simpsons Multipliers. The actual formula becomes (174.357 * 0.84 * 2)/3 = 97.640 m3 which,
multiplied by the specific weight of sea water gives for a 97.640 * 1.023 = 99,885 kg displacement.
I wish to highlight the importance of keeping the units of measure under control: if its metres, let it
always be metres and let kilograms always be kilograms. Dont change horse halfway the race.

Fig. 21

Lets finally check where is the longitudinal centre of buoyancy, aka LCB.
We multiply the Simpsons Functions (SF) by the corresponding Simpsons multipliers (Sm),
which determine the distance of each value from a common origin, aka station # 0. See figure # 21.
The formula is Sm * CI/SF or, in other words, we multiply the sum of the Simpsons moments
by the Common Interval and then divide the result by the sum of the Simpsons Functions. In the case
in point we have 2453.558 * 0.84 / 174.357 = 11.82, meaning that for the designed waterline the LCB
position is 11.82 metres ahead of station # 0. It goes without saying that the LCB positions changes
considerably once we consider different immersions of the hull. Its actually necessary to re-do the
complete procedure for waterlines set at different levels and plot the results on a curve. Lets then
hope that Alien never bothers our computer, so that it does the dirty job while we play 18 golf holes!
We now know the longitudinal position of the Centre of Buoyancy: we need its vertical position
too (aka VCG), to ascertain the vessels stability. Its not difficult: just boring. We must repeat the
same procedure using the waterlines areas instead of the stations areas.

4.2. The comparison coefficients

We can verify the efficiency of the hull design by means of the comparison coefficients. These
are numeric values, typical for each family of hulls. Please note that they shall substantially change
for the same hull, once we examine different immersions.
4.2.1. The prismatic coefficient

We have already met the prismatic coefficient (aka Cp). We used it in 2.7 and 3.3 for some
preliminary check. Basically Cp compares the immersed volume of the hull to a solid which
transverse section is equal to the main station area and which length is equal to the waterline length
(see figure # 22). Let me recall the formula: Cp = /(Am * WL) . Converted in figures, for the hull
weve designed, it gives: 97.64/ (7.538 * 22.75) = 0.58329 that well informally call 0.583. This
figure is fit for this kind of hulls: more than satisfactory.

Fig. 22

4.2.2. The block coefficient

The block coefficient (aka Cb) compares the immersed volume of the hull to a parallelepiped
which three dimensions are: the waterline length, the draft (T) and the width on the waterline (or
BWL) (see figure # 23). The formula is Cb = /(BWL * T * LWL) .
As for our hull, it gives 97.64 / (6.22 * 1.5 * 22.75) = 0.460007 or better 0.46. This is also an
average, acceptable figure.

Fig. 23

4.2.3. The fineness coefficient

The fineness coefficient (or Cf) compares the LWL area (that we call AWL) to a rectangle
which sides are the LWL and BWL dimensions (see figure # 24). The formula is Cf = AWL/(BWL *
LWL). In our case we have 106.057 / (6.22 * 22.75) = 0.74949 but we assume 0.75. And this is also
Fig. 24

4.3. The unitary displacement

We have just measured the area of the waterline (AWL) of the hull weve designed, and it is
106.057 m2. It should be plain: as the hull sinks one centimetre below the waterline, or floats one
centimetre above it, the displacement changes of one hundredth of cubic metre, that is to say 106.057
* 0.01 = 1.06057 m3, or 1.0146 * 1023 = 1084.9631 kg.
In other words: for small neighbourhoods of a waterline we can consider the hull as a
parallelepiped. In the case in question: if the weight varies of 1,085 kg the hull sinks one centimetre;
if the hull sinks one centimetre it means that theres been a weight increase of 1,085 kg.
It goes without saying that the same calculation needs to be done for all the waterlines and that the
results must be plotted on a curve.
Chapter 5

5.1. The centre of gravity

Please see figure # 21: we have found the positions of the LCB and VCB. We need two conditions
for our vessel to float exactly on the designed waterline. First: the ships weight must equal the
weight of the water that she displaces, diving to the desired draft. Second: the centre of gravity must
be on the centre plane and its longitudinal location must correspond to the LCB position. As for the
first point, its plain that the ship would dive more if she were heavier than forecasted, and vice
versa. In case the transverse position of the centre of gravity (TCG) was not on the centre plane the
vessel would list on the same side where the centre of gravity actually is. If the LCG would not
correspond to the LCB location the hull would heel bow down or stern down, depending from the
centre of gravity position. Therefore we need to verify the vessels weight. Lets list on a chart all the
parts of the vessel, their estimated weight, their LCG position in respect to station # 0 and their VCG,
measured from the base line. The more items we list, the more precise is the output of our calculation.
We positively know the weight and the CG position of some parts: namely the engines, the machinery,
the anchors, the chains, the rudders, the shaft line, the propellers and so on. The suppliers shall give
us such specifications. We need to estimate many other: for example the plants, the joinery work, the
paint, the filler and so forth. I wish to highlight that the following chart doesnt relate to the hull that
we drafted. Its just a working method example.
Fig. 25

The first column on the left lists the items, starting from the fibre glass structure and going ahead
with the mooring equipment. The second column shows the items weight in kilograms. Columns #
three and four give the positions of the LCG and VCG of each item. The sixth and seventh columns
show the moments, that is to say the product of each weight by its arm, or distance, from a common
origin (station 0 or base line).
Lets now sum all weights: its plain that the figure we get should be very near to the vessels
displacement that we have guessed. In case theres a difference, we can calculate the draft change as
per 4.3.
In the same way we add all the vertical and longitudinal moments. Now, the result of the division
of the sum of the moments by the sum of the weights is the distance in metres of the LCG from station
# 0 and of the VCG from the base line.
I wish to highlight that there are considerable differences between the conditions of ship at
arrival and ship at departure, aka light ship and full load.
This method is more boring than difficult: its time consuming and involves some ability and
experience. But its fundamental for all projects accuracy and for the vessels stability assessment and
survey. A serious implementation to the rule of the thumb.

5.2. The transverse metacentric height

While studying a vessels hull we consider two metacentric heights: transverse and longitudinal.
We shall overlook the latter simply because it wouldnt build up any hassle, while we shall analyse in
detail the transverse metacentric height.

5.2.1. The metacentre

Lets specify what is the metacentre (aka M) of a ship. She can be assimilated to a pendulum:
with a little fantasy, you might think of the metacentre as the fulcrum around which the ship rolls, for
heel angles below 10. The reciprocal positions of the transverse metacentre (Mt), of the centre of
buoyancy (B) and of the centre of gravity (G) (figure # 26) are fundamental for the initial stability of
the vessel.

Fig. 26

The position of Mt is function of the moment of inertia of the waterline figure. Im sure that our
beloved computer shall easily and quickly give us this datum: but do we really want to sell our souls
to technology? Are we sure that this stupid machine can replace our intelligence? I love to ask myself
question when I know the answer, which is no! Lets therefore see how to calculate the momentum of
inertia of a waterplane figure and, as final result, how to find the Mt position. In a simple way and
mainly with our computer switched off. We use a chart table and a calculation method very similar to
the renowned Simsons rule (see figure # 27): we refer to the hull in figure # 15. As usual the first
column on the left lists the stations. The second one shows the half breadths of the waterline figure
from the centre line, in metres, for each station. The third column lists each of these figures raised to
the third power (aka cubed). The fourth column shows the dear, old Simpsons Multipliers (do you
remember? 1, 4, 2, 4, 2). The last column lists the result of the multiplication of the figures of
column three by the Simpsons Multipliers, that is to say the momentum of inertia functions (Fi). The
formula to calculate the momentum of inertia (I) is I = (Fi * CI * 2) / 9. In other words, we multiply
the sum of the momentum of inertia functions Fi by 2, as we have only measured the half breadths.
Then we multiply by the common interval CI and we finally divide by 9, to average the figures. In our
case the result is 245.838 m4. The formula to calculate the distance from B (remind its the centre of
buoyancy) and Mt is BMt = I / . Weve already found the immersed volume of the hull (see figure #
20) and it is 97.64 m3. The figures in the formula therefore give: BMt = 245.838 m4 / 97.64 m3 =
2.518 m.
BMt is also called r or transverse metacentric radius.
Weve also already calculated the position of B (see 4.1) and the weights table chart (see 5.1)
gives the G position.
The span between G and Mt gives the transverse metacentric height GMt: some call it r-a.

5.3. The effects of the transverse metacentric height

Its plain that the transverse metacentre position is strictly bound to the shape of the hull,
particularly to the waterplane shape. The only way of changing the Mt position is modifying the hull
lines. Its also evident that the metacentre position changes for different hull drafts, which in turn
modify the waterlines shape, their momentums of inertia and the immersed volumes. Changing the
position of G is a lot easier: we can move some weights or add ballast. The value of GMt cannot be
lower than a minimum figure, and its inappropriate that its too high. I wish to highlight that the
transverse metacentric height is an independent value, not bound to the vessels dimensions: in other
words it could be 80 centimetres for a 20 metres yacht as well as for a 300 metres cargo ship.
Fig. 27

The Registers of Shipping determine the minimum value of GMt, below which the ship is not
allowed to sail: its 0.15 metres, and believe me its very, very low.
In case the GMt figure is between 0.40 and 0.60 metres the rolling of the vessel is very slow and
accentuated. The vessel is instable and lists easily, even for the wind pressure alone. The leeward
side definitely ships water and the crew feel unsafe.
For GMt figures between 0.70 and 0.90 metres the vessel rolls normally, even with high waves,
and she gives a sense of safety and comfort.
If GMt is between 1.00 and 1.20 metres the decks tend to remain horizontal, the vessel fights the
waves and rolls hard. The rolling period is quite short, walking around the decks is difficult, the crew
needs to grab constantly to handrails and seasickness is behind the corner.
For GMt values above 1.30 metres the vessel is so hard that is ships water on decks, the rolling
is so tough and quick that moving around is pretty impossible and the inner ear is so stressed that even
an experienced crew would be seasick.
Thereafter we gather that stability, as alcohol and refined food, must keep within reasonable
limits: too low is bad, too much is worse.

5.4. The stability

The stability of a vessel is her ability to straighten up after that, for some reason, she listed on
one side. The centre of gravity (G) position doesnt change when the ship rolls under the wind or of
the waves force. On the other hand the distribution of the immersed volumes changes: the hull sinks
by the listing side and emerges by the opposite side. The centre of buoyancy (B) position therefore
changes, and moves from the centre plane towards the listing side (B1 in figure # 28).
As we can see from the figure, there are two forces, or vectors, with the same value but pushing in
opposite directions: one is the weight-force; the other is the buoyancy-force. When the vessel lists on
one side, theyre no more aligned, as they are when the hull is even. The distance between these two
vectors is the righting arm or GZ. We get the righting moment by multiplying the vessels
displacement by GZ.

Fig. 28

The righting arm GZ value is function of the sine of the listing angle and the formula is GZ = GM
sen .
The position of Mt remains on the vessels centre plan for listing angles below 10 degrees. Above
this figure Mt moves away from the centre plane. The reason is plain: the waterplane shape of a
vessel listing more than 10 degrees becomes asymmetric to the centre line: as a consequence Mt flies
somewhere in space, giving birth to what is called metacentric swirl which calculation is quite
difficult and is not in the scope of this handbook. What really counts is studying the vessels stability
between 0 degrees listing and the capsizing point: the designer shall therefore draft the stability
chart which shows the GZ values for all listing angles. The figure should always be positive (above
the x-axis): if and when the curve should cross the x-axis and become negative Houston, we have
a problem. In other words: it might happen that a vessel with a GMt higher than another ship
proves, in the end, to have a worse transverse stability. Its plain that: GMt is not the only parameter
by which we determine a vessels stability.

5.5. The inclining experiment

Lets assume that we have accurately calculated the positions of G and Mt. Once the vessel is
about finished we need to do an inclining experiment. Its absolutely necessary, and the Registers of
Shipping deem it mandatory: the scope is to ascertain the GMt figure by means of an experimental
method. We must respect a few conditions to be able to run the experiment: the vessel must be afloat,
moored in calm water, in absence of wind, we must know the displacement. Mainly there must be no
free-surface liquids inside the tanks (or at least they must be reduced to a minimum). The movement
of free-surface liquids during the experiment would change the position of G in an unknowable way
and make useless the figures that we will read. As a consequence all tanks (fuel, fresh water, oil, oily
waters, sewage and so on) must be either empty or completely topped up. The pipes connecting all
tanks shall be intercepted. Pools and tubs must be empty. We must fix a pendulum to a point situated
on the centre plane of the vessel, such as a deck overhang or the lower part of a signal mast. In case
the length of the vessel is more than 35 metres its mandatory to use two pendulums, one near the bow
and the other near the stern. Each pendulum carries a load at its extremity, which should end up into a
basin filled with water or oil (the only free-surface liquid allowed), to dampen its movements. The
perpendicular position of the pendulum shall be clearly identified and marked before we incline the
vessel: this way well be able to measure the gap (S) when the ship lists. Its equally important to
know the length of the pendulum (L): its plain that the longer is the pendulum, the greater shall be the
offset, the easier are the readings and the better is the test quality. The Registers of Shipping accept a
listing angle between 1 and 3 degrees and a minimum pendulum offset of 100 millimetres. To list the
vessel we board a weight (P), which amount changes with the ships dimensions. The necessary
weight can be achieved by means of sand bags, old oil barrels filled with stones, iron or lead bars,
concrete blocks or else. We must know the amount of weight and the distance (B) of its centre of
gravity from the centre line. I deliberately accentuated the heel angle in figure # 29, just to make the
symbols, values and letters easily readable. The actual ship shall list a lot less. To summarize:
G is the centre of gravity of the vessel even on her keel;
G1 is the centre of gravity, shifted aside after boarding the weight P;
Mt is the transverse metacentre position;
P is the weight that we board to list the vessel;
B is the distance, or arm, from the centre line of the centre of gravity of P;
L is the pendulum length;
S is the offset of the pendulum end when the ship lists;
is the heel angle;
D is the vessels displacement, including the weight P.
The listing vessels equilibrium condition is given by the formula: P * B = G G1 *
Since we assume that the listing angle is very small, we can also assume that the offset of G to G1
is perpendicular to the centre plane. We can therefore say that tan = G G1 / G Mt or G G1 = G Mt
* tan .
Lets go back to the equilibrium formula and lets replace the G G1 figure with GMt * tan and
we get P * B = GMt * tan * .
Thereafter, if we isolate GMt, we get GMt = P * B / tan * .
We know the values of P, B and D (please remind that its the original vessels displacement plus
the weight P). To solve the formula and find the experimental value of GMt we still lack the tan
figure. We deduce it from the length of the pendulum (L) and from its offset (S) by the formula tan =
S / L.
For the sake of clarity lets do a numeric example: the vessel has an initial displacement of 40
metric tons. We board a 2 tons weight (P), raising the total displacement to 42 tons. The centre of
gravity of the weight we board is 2.5 metres from the centre line. The length of the pendulum is 3
metres and its offsets, when the ship heels, is 0.4 metres.
The tan value is 0.4 / 3 = 0.13. The formula GMt = P * B / tan * becomes GMt = 2 * 2.5 /
0.13 = 0.915.

Fig. 29

5.6. The longitudinal metacentric height

We have seen that the position of the transverse metacentre is function of the momentum of inertia
of the waterplane shape, in respect to the centre line. To find the longitudinal metacentre we should go
through the same calculations we did before, but this time the moments of inertia must be calculated in
respect to a transverse axis, being therefore a lot higher than the transverse readings. As we have
seen, the readings are cubed and its plain that the result shall save us from every possible surprise.
Actually, to a first approximation, the longitudinal metacentric height is assumed to equal the LWL.
Thats why all vessels roll more than they pitch. The following figure # 30 shows an example
concerning an actual hull: please note that all the data are plotted on curves which are function of the
ships draft (Y axis).

Fig. 30
Chapter 6
The propulsion

6.1. The fixed pitch propeller

The propeller is the more classic way to drive a vessel, but its not the only one. Propellers are
such a huge topic that whole books are dedicated to their study: this handbook only gives basic
information. The paragraph is dedicated to fixed pitch propellers, which means that there are also
controllable pitch propellers (CPP). Well see them later.

6.1.1. The propellers structure

The propeller is built with metal: sometimes its stainless steel but more often its casted of an
alloy of copper, magnesium, aluminium and other metals. In other words, bronze. The propeller is
made of a hub and of a certain number of blades: motor vessels generally have three, four or five
blades (see figure # 31). The hub is hollow and the cavity is conical: in the inner face theres a slot
for a steel key. The shaft holds the same slot, so that propeller and shaft are integral. Abaft the
propeller theres a nose cone, screwed to the threaded shaft end. The cone is made of zinc, which is
used as sacrificial anode. In other words: sea water, which is salty, is a natural electrolytic solution.
The propeller is made of bronze, which is an alloy of copper, aluminium and magnesium: the
nobility scale of metals is the following:
Stainless steel;
The so called nobility of a metal stands for its major or minor aptitude to lose ions during an
electrolytic passage. Gold is on top, lithium is the poorest. Zinc is in between. Its therefore plain
that copper would lose ions to the advantage of stainless steel, unless theres a less noble metal to
sacrifice: aka the zinc anode.

Fig. 31

6.2. The pitch

The main characteristic of a propeller is the pitch (P), aka the progress of the propeller in one
revolution. Modern propellers have a progressive pitch: in other words, near the hub its higher than
the nominal pitch while its lower near the blades tip. The nominal pitch is measured at 70% of the
blade length.

6.3. The slip

The propeller works like a screw and its geometrical pitch corresponds to its progress for each
revolution: in theory. Practically, the propeller is not a screw turning in a solid wood plank. It works
in water: theres therefore a difference between its geometrical, or nominal, pitch and its actual
progress for each revolution. We call this difference slip (S), its a variable, influenced by many
parameters such as the rate of revolutions per minute, the type of hull, the vessels speed, the position
of the propeller, the appendages (shaft, bracket) and more. As a rule of the thumb we can assume
the slip to be roughly:
20% for high speed planning hulls;
25% for planning cruising vessels;
30% for displacing hulls;
40% for sailing boats.

6.4. The pitch calculation

Its a wise idea to leave the final decision about the propellers characteristics to their builder: its
a complicated matter and its prudent to let the last word to who knows better. Yet we need to set up a
preliminary calculation, at least of pitch and diameter. Now, between the engine and the shaft line
there is a gear box. It changes the rotation of the propellers from forward to aft and reduces the engine
revolutions: the reduction ratio depends from the type of vessel. Let me highlight that the pulling force
that drives every vehicle, including boats, its not just the power (Ne) but mainly the torque (Nm).
The torque formula is Nm = (K * Ne) / RPM where K is a parameter and RPM (Revolutions Per
Minute) the revolutions, either of the engines or of the shaft, depending what were looking at. RPM
is a numerator: therefore the higher the revolutions, the lower the torque. Torque is therefore a force,
and in fact its value unit is Newton x metre: it could be defines as the aptitude of an engine to generate
Its plain that a vessel having a low weight/power ratio, therefore able to achieve high speed,
doesnt need high torque values. On the contrary a tug boat, slow but powerful, needs high torque to
do her work. These simple criteria shall help the choice of engines for every type of vessel.
Thereafter we shall use a reduction ratio between 1: 1.5 and 1: 2 for a planning vessel, while we
shall use a higher reduction ratio (i.e. 3: 1 or 3.5: 1) for a displacing, slow motion ship.
Lets now calculate the propellers pitch.
We start from the design speed (V): lets figure out its 30 knots. Remember that a knot equals one
nautical mile per hour, aka 1,852 m/h. 30 knots equals 30 * 1,852 = 55,560 metres per hour. Lets
imagine that our vessel is equipped with two marine diesel engines, with a maximum rotation speed
of 2,300 RPM, and that the reduction ratio (Rr) is 2: 1.
The propellers therefore rotate at 2,300 / 2 = 1,150 RPM.
The propellers do 1,150 * 60 = 69,000 revolutions per hour.
Provided that, during that same hour, 69,000 rotations of the propellers shall cover a distance of
55,560 metres, every revolution should cover a distance of 55,560 / 69,000 = 0.805 metres. This
would be the necessary pitch to run at 30 knots, were not for the slip. We must thereafter add 20% to
the value above said, which becomes 0.805 * 1.20 = 0.966 which we round up to 1 metre. We can
transform all this long and boring calculation in a formula: P = (V * 1,852) / [(RPM / Rr) * 60] * S
that can be simplified into P =[(V * 30.8666) / (RPM / Rr] * S.

6.5. The diameter calculation

The propeller diameter is function of its design, its number of blades, of the shaft revolutions. The
diameter of a four blades propeller can be gathered from the chart of figure # 32.
It correlates (right) the propeller revolution (let me highlight: not the engines revolutions but the
shaft speed) with the power (left). Draft a line joining the revolutions with the power: the reading on
the middle column gives, with good approximations, the propeller diameter. Using the same data of
6.4 we join the shaft revolutions (1,150) with the power (lets say its 2,300 Hp), we read a diameter
value D of 1.13 metres.
The propellers of pleasure crafts might have five blades: in this case we can reduce the diameter
about 10%.

Fig. 32

6.6. The cavitation

Every point of the blade surface rotates with the same angular velocity, but its plain that the blade
tip has a linear speed much higher than it has near the hub. The local pressure drops as the blade tip
cuts through the water at high speed: the drop of the pressure below the vapour pressure produces
bubbles of vapour. These cavities quickly explode, generating noise, vibrations, local corrosion of
the blade and a reduction of the propellers performance. The theoretical calculation concerning
cavitation is quite complex and we shall leave it to experts: knowing the basics is enough for our
purpose. The cavitation is influenced by the propeller diameter: the larger the propeller, the higher
the linear speed of its tip; by the number of revolutions per minute: the higher, the worse; by the blade
design, by the shaft angle, by the draft of the propeller, by the appendages in front of the propeller and
by tens other parameters.

6.7. The As/Ad ratio

Theres another parameter which influences the propeller performance: its the ratio between the
expanded surface of the propeller (As) and the disc surface (Ad), meaning the circle which inscribes
the propeller. Figure # 33 shows how As might be considerably higher than Ad (drawing on the left),
where each blade covers the other.

Fig. 33

6.8. The clearance

The propeller tip should not be too near to the hull surface. There is a laminar water flow below a
running hull: the water in this area has a different speed compared to the surrounding, still water. In
case the propellers blades cross this laminar flow they get a stroke which, multiplied by the number
of blades and by the revolutions per minute, builds up a strong vibration, which might shake the
whole vessel. Besides, the propellers lose efficiency. Thereafter, there must be a space, or
clearance, between the blade tip and the hull. As general rule, this span must equal 15-20% of the
propeller diameter D. The higher the vessels speed, the greater the clearance must be.

6.9. The shaft line

The propeller is connected to the gear box by means of a cylindrical shaft, made of stainless steel.
Both ends of the shaft are threaded: the aft end is bolted to the propeller, while the forward end is
bolted to the coupling flange, which in turn is bolted to the gear box flange (figure # 34), and also
here theres a slot with a key. There is a stuffing box where the shaft crosses the hull: it allows the
shaft rotation and is tight to the sea water. The shaft needs at least one support, called bracket: in
case its very long the brackets could be two or even three. The bracket (built either in bronze, steel
or light alloy) is bolted to the hull bottom. Its lower end is a cylinder, inside which there is a rubber
bushing, which holds the shaft. The upper face of the bracket is shaped like the hull (see figure #35).
The span between the aft end of the bracket and the forward face of the propellers hub should not be
more than 50% of the shaft diameter: this avoids vibrations. The shaft diameter is function of the
power, or to say better, of the twisting moment (or torque) and depends upon the mechanical
characteristics of the steel, namely its torsion breaking load. The shaft line is seldom horizontal: its
angle depends from many parameters, such as the engine dimensions, the propeller diameter, the hull
shape. Due to the shaft angle, the propeller pulling force splits into two vectors: one horizontal and
forward, the other vertical upwards. The larger the angle, the greater the loss of driving forces:
besides, a too large angle is a cause of cavitation. The maximum allowed angle is therefore 12. The
horizontal distance between the propellers should be at least two diameters: this shall avoid
unwanted interferences. Please remind that all vessels, during a quick sharp turn, list on the same side
of the turn. This brings one of the propellers near the water surface: in case its too far from the
centreline it might cavitate.

6.10. The stern tunnels

Some vessels can be equipped with stern tunnels, near the aft end of the hull (see figure # 36).
Tunnels reduce the draft, increase the propellers efficiency and lower the resistance. Practical tests
show that tunnels allow roughly 10% speed increase.

Fig. 34

Fig. 35
Fig. 36

6.11. The controllable pitch propeller

Controllable pitch propellers (CPP) are mainly used on workboats. The blades turn around a pin
fixed to the hub and the pitch can be positive (forward drive) or negative (backwards). CPP are very
complicated pieces of machinery and are seldom used on pleasure crafts.

6.12. The jet propulsion

The jet is kind of a high pressure pump: the engine pulls a rotary pump, which suckles water
from below the hull and pushes it backwards through a stern drive. Its one of the more efficient
propulsion systems. There are no rudders or gear boxes: on the stern drive theres a pivoting shell
which diverts the water flow, or bends downwards to re-direct the gush forward, to pull the vessel
back. Its quite an expensive system and easily suckles debris when it operates in shallow waters.
Also manoeuvring in restricted water, such as in a harbour, isnt easy: the crew needs to run the
engines lively to handle the vessel. This moves huge amounts of water, builds waves, and other
sailors might be very unhappy. See figure # 37.
Fig. 37
Chapter 7

7.1. The rudder effect

Examining the rudder effect might sound strange: its plain what it does. It steers the vessel. Yet
one thing might not be carefully considered: the bow doesnt turn, when a ship hauls off. Its the stern
that moves aside under the rudder effect. The ship then changes course, yet youd better remember this
while manoeuvring in restricted waters. The rudder is an appendix which increases the resistance:
not much when its centred, quite sensibly while it turns to steer the vessel. The rudder use reduces
the vessels speed. Finally, at high speed, the rudder raises the stern and the vessel lists in the same
direction of the turn.

7.2. A design guideline

The rudder surface must be proportionate to the type, dimension and speed of the ship. Giving a
general rule is therefore impossible, even if there are empirical and debatable formulas. Experience
and good sense suggest that the rudder surface of a displacing ship should equal 2.5 to 5% of the
projection of the immersed hull, while for a high speed planning vessel an area of 1 to 2.5% should
be enough. The rudders must not be installed right abaft the shafts, but need to be misaligned, with
enough offset from the shaft line to allow its disassembly. There should be enough space between the
propeller and the rudder to allow the dismantling of the propeller. The rudder stock dimension
depends from the material its made of, from the rudder dimension, from the number of stands. The
vessels structure must be well reinforced in the neighbourhoods of the rudder stock: its a
particularly delicate and stressed area. Part of the rudder blade is ahead of its shaft: it reduces the
work load on the rudder machine and its called compensation. Its dotted in figure # 38.
Fig. 38

7.3. The rudder machine

The rudder movement is either mechanic or hydraulic, generally backed up by an electric motor.
The rudder machine (see figure # 39) must have a by-pass position, to allow the use of an emergency
tiller in case of failure of the main system. The automatic pilot works together with the rudder
machine and grants a constant course.
Fig. 39
Chapter 8
The building materials

8.1. Abstract

The vessels structure is made of many elements, some transverse and some longitudinal. A
watertight outer skin, called plating (or planking) encloses all these structures and makes a barrier for
the surrounding water. All the elements which build a structure must be continuous: figure # 40 shows
that the longitudinal stringers of the bottom correspond with the structures of the bulkheads and of the
deck. The same applies to the transverse sections, where the floors, the frames, the beams build up a
continuous ring. The vessels structure is therefore made of rings which tie the ship in both planes.
Please note the names of the structure parts: they must become familiar. Figure # 41 shows a similar
structure during a vessel building. The weight of the structure is only from 25 to 35% of the total
weight of the ship: there is a substantial dissimilarity between different building materials, but the
range only involves a small percentage of the whole displacement of the vessel. In all vessels, but for
the wooden constructions, the tanks are structural, hosted in a double bottom structure. Metal built
ships (either out of steel or aluminium alloy) must have plugs (that can be opened from outside)
below the fuel tanks, as all repair works which need welding must follow a complete and careful
emptying of the fuel tanks. The maritime authority checks the vessel before the works start and
releases a gas free certificate only in case the tanks are empty and clean. These plugs must be
clearly shown on a dedicated drawing.

Fig. 40
Fig. 41

8.2. The wood

Wood, as boatbuilding material, has been neglected since a long time, and its a real pity. It
requires well-seasoned wood, qualified manpower, great experience, and long construction time.
Besides, the wood structure is quite large and cuts space for the arrangements. Finally, a wood vessel
requires a lot of maintenance. Yet, no other material has the same appeal and scent.

8.2.1. Wood: a live substance

Wood is a live material: its characteristics change considerably depending from the area where the
trees grow, from the period of the year of their felling, from the way the logs are sawn into planks,
from the drying system and from the seasoning. Planks sawn parallel to the logs axis do contort
(shrinks and twist) more than planks sawn with a quarter cut, that is to say with a 45 angle (see
figure # 42). The wood should be preferably seasoned in an open space, exposed for enough time to
the inclemency of the weather. This way the wood gradually loses the interstitial and intercellular
moisture, till it reaches the ideal humidity, that is to say roughly 12% of its weight. Like this wood
reaches its dimensional stability. For commercial reason and to cut time, wood is often oven
seasoned: a method that sometimes brings some bad surprise. Commonly used woods are: oak,
douglas fir, pine, cypress, and naturally the classic mahogany and teak. Each of these species is fit for
some specific parts of the boat.
Fig. 42

8.2.2. The building techniques

Wooden vessels, alike all other boats, are made of transverse and longitudinal structures. The
mechanical properties of wood (its ultimate tensile strength is @ 60/65 N/mm2) are not comparable
with the steel ones (ultimate tensile strength @ 480 N/mm2) or with those of aluminium alloy
(ultimate tensile strength @ 320 N/mm2). As a consequence the dimensions of the floors, of the
frames, of the stringers etcetera must be larger, heavier and would cut space inside the boat. The parts
of the structure are joined by means of marine glue, screws, bolts and nails. Naturally all the
metalware is made either of copper or of stainless steel.

8.2.3. The strake planking

Solid wood planks, opportunely shaped, are fixed on the structure. Its the oldest and more classic
building method and its still used for small boats, mainly in emerging Countries. Its quite strong and
heavy. It needs a careful caulking to be waterproof.

8.2.4. The clinker

The planking strips are put one above the other: its typical of small boats, i.e. the Dinghy 12 (see
figure # 43).

8.2.5. The cross laminated wood

The building starts from the inner structures: some of them permanent, such as bulkhead and floors,
and some provisional, like several transverse frames that shall be later demolished. From five to six
layers of wood sheets are glued upon this framework: the sheets thickness is only 4 to 5 millimetres
while their width is 300 to 500 millimetres. The wood is normally mahogany. The sheets cross at a
30 angle. Its an elastic and light structure, fit for round hulls, such as sailboats.
Fig. 43

8.2.6. The marine plywood

Marine plywood can only be used for hard-chine boats, as the sheets only bend following a conic
or cylindrical generatrix and dont yeld. The structure is quite heavy.

8.2.7. The unfit wood composites

There are two main composites which are totally unfit for boat building purposes. One is the
domestic plywood, because the glue which is used would give away with the sea humidity. The other
is the medium density fibreboard: its a cheap material, heavy, inconsistent.

8.3. The light alloy

Light alloy is commonly called aluminium but its not correct. Actually marine industry uses an
alloy made of aluminium, magnesium, manganese, silicon and other metals even though the percentage
of aluminium is by far the highest. Marine industry uses two light alloys: one belongs to the ISO 5,000
series, namely AlMg4.5Mn, and the other to the ISO 6,000 series, in particular AlMgSiCu. The 5,000
series alloys are fit for welding, while the 6,000 series are either glued or riveted or both. The ISO
5083 alloy is the most commonly used: its sold in plates and bars. It can have different annealing
status which give diverse mechanical characteristics: the most commonly used are H32, H 321 and H
111. Light alloy needs inert gas welding and qualified manpower. Light alloy boat building has many
advantages and only two handicaps. Aluminium is a self-protecting metal: its exposed face oxidises
with a very strong ceramic surface. It doesnt rust and doesnt degrade. Its quite light: lets remember
that its specific weight is @ 2.66, while steel is @ 7.85. The mechanical characteristics of aluminium
arent, of course, the same of steel (see 8.2.2 for the ultimate tensile strength): therefore all structures
of an aluminium alloy vessel must be oversized, compared to a steel building. The weight saving
(mind: for the structure alone) is roughly 40%, compared to steel. Building a steel hull and aluminium
alloy decks is convenient for some types of ships: the weight is less and the centre of gravity is lower.
Steel and aluminium cannot be directly welded. Therefore they are coupled by means of a bi-metallic
special welding system. One commercial brand is Detaclad: its made of a steel sheet and an
aluminium sheet, one above the other, joined by explosion. For what above said, it would seem that
aluminium alloy was the best possible boat building material. It would be so, if it were not for two
issues. One is the cost: aluminium is much more expensive than steel. Even though in terms of weight
theres a saving, at the end the construction is more costly. A pity because its even cleaner than steel
and easier to handle. As for the second problem, that is to say corrosion, please go back to 6.1.1 and
see the electrolytic scale of metals, or galvanic series. You might notice that aluminiums position
isnt much fortunate, not a very noble metal. Crucial precaution must therefore be used: no nobler
metals should come in contact with the aluminium structure. AISI 316 stainless steel is mainly used.
Just out of curiosity, AISI stands for American Iron and Steel Institute. Figure # 41 shows a light alloy

8.4. The steel

Steel used for boatbuilding is commonly Fe 42, where Fe is its official name in the periodic table
and 42 is its ultimate tensile strength in Kg/mm2, equal to 412 N/mm2. Steel is an old building
method: several years ago the structures used to be riveted, while nowadays theyre only welded.
Ship building in steel is classic for large vessels, where the structure weight doesnt influence the
total weight of the ship and her performance. As a matter of fact, steel construction is one of the
heaviest, simplest and cheapest. Unfortunately steel quickly oxidizes and corrosion keeps working
below the surface rust layer, up to the point that whole thin sheets of steel drop off.

8.5. The fibreglass

This term includes various building methods such as fibreglass, sandwich and composite. I
personally deem this material as devoid of any appeal, smelly, amorphous, and lacking of any
particular quality. Its ultimate tensile strength is from 150 to 200 N/mm2. Yet its essential for mass
production. The cost of boats dropped since fibreglass was used, which allowed many people to
approach yachting and boats. Every new fibreglass boat building begins with the construction of scale
one-to-one wood models of hull and decks. Cheap wood is used, such as pine or poplar: at the end of
the works it will be cast away. These models are the exact picture of what the finished boat shall look
like: all details and particulars must be carefully foreseen and inserted at this stage: for example the
manholes necks, the windows housing shapes, the raised areas for the mooring equipment installation,
the anti-skid weave areas etcetera. The surface of such models must be perfect, without bumps or
hollows and must be mirror polished, like a new car body. Its plain that every flaw will show on
each boat built afterwards. The construction of the moulds starts as soon as the models are finished,
checked and approved. A detachant chemical product is sprayed on the models, and then the gelcoat
is applied. Gelcoat is a hard resin, fit for surfaces. Generally its black or red, because these colours
enhance all possible small flaws. Layers of resin-soaked glass fibre are then applied above the
gelcoat. The weight of these glass woven is quite variable: lamination starts with a very light one,
called mat , made of short fibres, arranged at random, glued together. More layers are applied
afterwards, increasing the woven weight, till several heavy roving are laid. Roving is made of long
and regularly crossed fibres, sawn together. Its mandatory to use a sufficient weight of mat before
laying the roving, unless the mould surface (and later the boats skin) shows a horrible weft in relief.
The Registers of Shipping rule the glass weight per square metre, both for the moulds and for the
actual boat building. The weight changes depending on many parameters and on the different vessels
areas. Similarly the Registers of Shipping rule the percentage of glass and resin which the panels are
made of. As for the rule of the thumb, the glass weight shouldnt be less than 30% of the total weight.
A steel structure is now fastened to the outer part of the mould, to avoid deformation. The moulds
and the wood model are taken apart, the wood model is thrown away, the moulds are mirror polished
and are now ready for the boats production. The moulds are the female, or negative, mark of the boat.
The completion of the process above described with a few lines actually needs a long time. The
resins are either polyester of epoxy: in any case they harden by means of a catalyst. The completion of
the catalysis needs a cure time which goes from several days to some weeks. Once the moulds are
ready, the building procedure is the same as above ditto: first the gelcoat (this time it shall have the
chosen final colour of the boat), then the mat and so on. When the shell is made the structures (floors,
frames stringers etcetera) are installed. The structures are made of laminated fibreglass beams, with a
C shape, built of fibreglass above an inner core, such as wood, hard paper, polyurethane foam: the
core isnt part of the structure, its only a useful shape. Parts of the arrangement can be built of
fibreglass, such as floors, showers trays, beds structure and much more. Fibreglass doesnt require
maintenance, doesnt rust, doesnt rot, doesnt chip, doesnt dent, and doesnt need repainting. Its the
ideal building material from the point of view of the customer: its cheap and long lasting. Its the
ideal building material for the Builder: its easy to build and doesnt create problems. Yet I dont
love it.

8.6. The ferrocement

I write about it only because it exists but, also out of personal experience, I wouldnt suggest it for
pleasure crafts building. Its a cheap method which was used during Wold War Two to build cargo
ships (the Liberty, see figure # 44) following the steel shortage, as this metal was mainly bound for
military constructions. The vessels structure is made of small diameter steel bars, the same used to
reinforce concrete pillars, and steel net with square or hexagonal knit. The net is fastened by means of
steel wire to the longitudinal and transverse steel bars network. Once the load-bearing structure is
finished, the concrete is placed. Workers apply the concrete from outside and from inside at the very
same time, carefully filling all hollows and pressing the concrete from both sides. The procedure is
very similar to the reinforced concrete construction, but no gravel is added to the concrete: only
portlandite and sand. The specific weight of such a structure is @ 3: its not bad, mainly when
compared to steel. But the very high thickness which is necessary do frustrate this advantage.
Ferrocement doesnt rust, doesnt rot, doesnt smell and its easily repairable. On the other hand it
easily transmits vibrations and noise and every modification to holes and passageways is impossible
once the concrete hardens. Fairing the hull and deck is a time consuming procedure and paper sanding
is about impossible. Yet its probably the cheapest ship building method.
Fig. 44

8.7. The fairing and the painting

Only fibreglass boats dont need painting. All the remaining yachts, ships, vessels need paint. Let
me recall an old, short and nice rhyme which tells about a boat:

She scorns the man whose heart is faint

And doesnt show him pity.
And like a girl she needs the paint
To keep her looking pretty.

Lets start from the bare surface, be it either steel, aluminium alloy or wood. The first thing to do
is to build a scaffolding structure all around the vessel, which could take some time. All surfaces
need to be thoroughly cleaned: there must be no traces of grease or dust. Often the paint supplier
specifies that a first layer of epoxy interface needs to be sprayed before the filler is used. Then an
applicator smooths all surfaces by applying some filler, which thickness should not exceed a few
millimetres. But naturally it depends upon the initial quality of the construction. Once the filler is hard
enough (its actually a resin which needs a catalyst), the painter sands the filler, leaving it in the
hollows and scraping it away above the bumps. It usually is a time consuming procedure. At the end
the surfaces must be cleaned again and then the first layer of paint can be applied, only when the
fairing work is satisfactory: its called a primer and is an interface between the filler and the paint.
Two more layers of paint follow: a so called undercoat and finally a topcoat. I suggest you to
contact a plaster and paint supplier and discuss the painting procedures with its technical staff. The
painting process can be pretty different depending upon the material that the vessel is made of. The
supplier will also decree the environmental conditions to respect while painting: mainly humidity,
temperature, thickness and timing. Its plain from the Acknowledgements paragraph that our
favourite paint supplier is Jotun Marine Paints and Coatings. We choose the paint for a vessel for its
colour, but another criteria is the gloss, which measures the opacity grade of a surface: 100 is
extremely shiny, 0 is absolutely matt. Both values are purely theoretical (see also figure # 89). Please
remind that the darker the paint and the higher the gloss, the easier is spotting all minor flaws on a
I wish to suggest that the colours choice criteria shall follow this policy: after the customers and
the designers indication, several samples of the colours shall be painted on aluminium sheets, 30 by
40 cm and supplied to the customer and his consultants for approval. With the colour chosen among
them, a 1 m. by 1 m. aluminium sheet shall be painted. Once the colour is approved in writing by the
customer and/or his consultants, two wide samples, 2 m. by 4 m. shall be painted on the ship (hull and
deck) for final approval in writing. Sometimes a colour sample on a small plate doesnt look the
same when its painted on the vessel: it might be the light incidence or a change in the mood I might
therefore now introduce

Principle number nine: spoken words fly, written words remain.

Chapter 9
The engine room

9.1. The main engines (MMEE)

Fig. 45

The engines (sometimes a single one) are the beating heart of the vessel. Position, easy access and
maintenance, reliability are fundamental for every vessel and for her safety at sea. There are several
criteria leading to a choice: the power, the speed (RPM), the weight, the fuel consumption, the noise,
the exhaust smoke, the cost but also the service and its availability worldwide. Marine engines are
mainly four-stroke diesel motors: I shall therefore write only about this family, even though there are
also two-stroke diesel motors, gasoline engines etcetera. The main engines, shortly MMEE, fill most
of the engine room volume. All engines burn fuel, which in the diesel case is gasoil. I wish to remind
that the fuel combustion inside the cylinders is just a very quick oxidation which releases power,
under the form of heath. Two elements are necessary for the reaction to happen: the combustible and
the comburent. The combustible is the fuel: provided that the crew fills the tanks in due time, there
should be no problem. Some issue might arise with the comburent, that is to say air, or to say better
the oxygen which is part of the gas blend that we call air. The engine room must be water and
weather tight: therefore the MMEE work in a sealed room, which volume is not very big. The air
flow into the engine room (through dedicated ventilation trunks) must supply the engines with enough
air to burn the fuel and also enough air to ventilate the room, keeping the temperature within
acceptable values.

Fig. 46

All engines suppliers rate the parameters which must be respected to guarantee the MMEE
performance: air pressure and temperature, humidity, sea water temperature etcetera. The marine
engines are unusually big: for example see figure # 46, which shows two valves. The smaller is the
valve of an average city car. The larger one is the valve of a tug boat engine. I think that a picture
explains more than words the difference between these engines.

9.1.1. The characteristic curves

Every engine goes with a technical specification which lists its characteristics, among which the
most important, at least to all appearances, is the power it releases: its specified both in Kw and in
Bhp (Brake horse power), being the ratio 1 Kw = 1.341 Bhp. The engine showing in figure # 45 is a
MTU 16 V 2000 M 93. MTU stands for Motoren und Turbinen Union, 16 is the number of cylinders
(you might try and count them on the picture), V is their angle in respect to the crankshaft: the rest is
marketing nomenclature. The MTU handbook states that this engine has a speed of 2,450 RPM; that its
specific fuel consumption is 209 grams per Kw/h (or @ 188 grams per Hp/h), that is to say roughly
450.7 litres per hour. The manual then lists all the dimensional data, such as weight, with and without
gear box, it says that the stroke is 156 mm, the bore is 135 mm and that the total displacement is 35.7
litres. Displacement, in this case, has nothing to do with the vessels weight: its the total volume of
the cylinders. The handbook tells more: for example that the average work load must be 60% of the
maximum output power and that the engine should not overcome 3,000 work hours per year. It goes
without saying that other engines from other brands would have totally different specifications.
Engines with low speed (or RPM) are fit for work boats, good for running endlessly. The general
figures of the manual arent sufficient for the designers work. What we really need is a set of curves,
such as in figure # 47, where the torque curve is the more important. DBR curve shows the usable
power for reduced periods, while the MCR curve shows the maximum continuous rating. Please mind
that every engine builder relates the given parameters to special conditions: in the MTU case they
Air intake temperature 25;
Cooling water temperature 25;
Atmospheric pressure 1,000 mbar;
Intake depression 15 mbar;
Exhaust backpressure 30 mbar;
Fuel intake temperature 25;
Antifreeze 40%.
Unless we have a great luck, all of these parameters wont prove real in practice and we shall
therefore expect minor changes in the engine performance. What in fact negatively influences the
performance is the back pressure in the exhaust line: this happens for example in case the gases outlet
is well below the waterline. Almost all vessels have the gas exhaust pipe below the waterline: back
pressure can be avoided simply by keeping the outlet near the surface. Another very effective way is
to build a secondary, small dimension gas exhaust line above the waterline: its very useful when the
vessel is at rest or sailing slowly, and the gases below the hull arent extracted by the laminar flow as
it happens at speed. Sometimes, before everything works well, the designer and the builder must go
through a lengthy trial and error procedure. The engine builder technical representatives attend to the
sea trials and carefully check all the engine parameters, there including the exhaust gas temperature.

Fig. 47

May be that the engine cant reach its maximum speed (RPM); or that, even if it does, the exhaust
gas temperature is too high. Both things might mean that the load on the engine is too high, which in
turn could mean that the propeller pitch and/or diameter is too large. In the opposite event (which
seldom happens) the propeller might result too small.

9.2. The gases exhaust line

As I wrote above, most of the vessels have the gas exhaust line below the hull. Like this the fumes
mix with the water and are consistently abated. Each engine has one or more exhaust lines which end
up in a silencer: the temperature of the exhaust gas is quite high, therefore all pipes must be protected
by means of insulating material (see figure # 48).

Fig. 48

The pipes hang from the deck beams: in between there are anti-vibrating supports. The exhaust
gases head into the silencer, where they mix with the sea water which comes from the heat exchanger
(see figure # 49). Inside the silencer drum there are several steel bars which break the water flow,
mixing the gas with the spray. This way the gas temperature and the fumes drop. The silencer and the
exhaust line are connected by means of a heat-resistant elastic pipe which dampens the vibrations.
The diesel-electric generator exhaust gas ends up in the same silencer, from which starts the
secondary exhaust line. I wish to highlight that the system above described is only one of the many
possible ways to design an exhaust line: the designer might want to discharge the exhaust gas through
the stern or on the vessels sides. The trend is to address the generators exhaust gases towards the top
funnel of the vessel: like this the guests swimming around the yacht wont be bothered by the burnt
fuel fumes. On the other hand, the fumes shall bother the sunbathing passengers on top deck, which
proves that perfect happiness doesnt exist.
Fig. 49

9.3. The comburent

The engine needs air to run: in principle, the amount of air in the engine room is never
overestimated. Lets find out which is the necessary volume of air. Each of the MTU engines of the
previous example has a @ 36 litres displacement. As they have 16 cylinders we shall have four
cylinders in induction stroke for every half rotation of the crankshaft (four shall be in compression,
four in expansion and four in exhaust stroke). Therefore the necessary air shall be 36 / 4 * 2 = 18
litres per revolution. This figure would be correct it the engine sucked air at atmospheric pressure:
but its outfitted with two turbo compressors and the pressure of the air reaching the cylinders is
therefore higher. I wish to digress slightly to say a few words about turbochargers. The stoichiometric
ratio between combustible and comburent cannot change. Therefore, the higher is the amount of the
first, the higher the volume of the latter must be. It follows that, for equal engine displacement, we can
burn more fuel if we intake a higher quantity of air. Burning a higher quantity of fuel means getting
more power. For this reason we use turbocharged engines, which drive one or more compressors,
operated by the exhaust gas. The engine therefore intakes compressed air. In the MTU case the air
pressure is 3.5 times higher than the atmospheric. The air volume at atmospheric pressure becomes
36 / 4 * 2 * 3.5 = 63 litres per revolution. The engines speed is 2,450 RPM: it needs 63 * 2,450 =
154,350 litres of air per minute, which we round up at 155 m3. As the vessel has two engines we
shall need @ 310 m3 of air per minute, for the MMEE alone. The designer can avoid all of this boring
calculation: he can find the same data on the technical sheet supplied by the engine builder. In the
MTU case the sheet lists a 2.6 m3 per second for each engine: if you like, check the calculation and
youll see that the figures match.
The designer must remember to air-feed the diesel-electric generators: lets imagine that we get by
with 350m3 of air per minute, for engines and generators. We must now allow 70 complete air
renewals, each hour, in the engine room. Lets figure that the engine room volume equals 75m3: we
need 70 * 75 = 5,250 m3/hour, that is to say @ 88 m3 per minute. The total amount of air is thereafter
350 + 88 = 438 m3 per minute, or @ 7.5 m3 per second. The ventilation trunks must be accurately
shaped and sized: the air flow through the ventilation ducts must not exceed 9 metres per second,
otherwise it whistles, rumbles and is quite noisy. As per the calculation above, the total section of the
ventilation trunks should not be less than 7.5 m3 / 9 m = 0.83 m2. My suggestion is to double this
value because, as I wrote before, air in never enough, and its also free of charge. For the time being.

9.4. The ventilation trunks

The section shape of the ventilation trunks is not important: they can be round, oval, square what
counts is that they dont have sharp bends or angles. Ideally they should be straight. The ventilation
trunks are equipped with high power fans which work two ways, in and out. These fans must be fitted
with remote-control shutters, to cut of air in case of fire in the engine room. The control must be
clearly indicated, easy to handle, quickly reachable. The end of the trunks on deck needs a careful
design work: some noise shall necessarily come from the engine room, and the trunks must be
protected from sea spray or waves. Each trunk must have a water interception system to keep the
engine room dry. Finally there must be enough space around the trunks to install noise and fire
insulation material.

9.5. Cooling water

The MMEE and the diesel generators need a cooling system. Each engine has a heat exchanger,
cooled by sea water. In practice, fresh cooling water flows around the water jacket of the cylinders
block, which in turn gets cooled by sea water, by means of a radiator. The engine builder shall
specify the cooling water pipes size, which is generally quite large. The vessel is normally provided
with two sea water intakes, set below the hull, equipped with bulb valves. Filters are provided on the
main pipes line: a set of valves and secondary pipes shall provide the cooling sea water to all

9.6. The gen sets

The ship is similar to a small city which produces the electricity needed for its life. The choice of
the electric generators (or gen sets) depends upon the energy balance, meaning the sum of the
electrical absorption of motors, lights, refrigerators, air conditioning etcetera, in different conditions
of use and various times of the day. In principle the designer needs to consider the following users:
Deck systems: rudder machine, davits, capstans, windlasses;
Navigation and safety systems: instruments, radar, gyrocompass, firefighting pumps, radio
Food service: dumb waiter, fridges, freezer;
Comfort system: air conditioning and heating;
Kitchen service;
Cabins system: fresh water pumps; water maker, boiler, elevator;
Lights system: inside lights, deck lights, emergency lights;
Engine room service: blowers, bilge pumps, fuel pumps.
Vessels generally have more than one electric generator, depending from the needed power: they
must also work in parallel. Let me remind that the parallel between more generators sums their
power, which unit is kW/h. A small generator could be installed for night use: it should release just
enough power to light the vessel and to run the air conditioning. Gen sets are enclosed by noise
reducing boxes (see figure # 50).

Fig. 50

9.7. The control room

Larger vessels are equipped with a control room. Its a small and well organized office,
soundproof, air conditioned, at one end of the engine room which it overlooks through large windows
(see figure # 51). The control room allows the crew to survey the engine room in perfect comfort and
Fig. 51

9.8. More machineries and arrangement

The engine room houses most of the vessels machinery: a short list includes:
Water maker;
Air conditioning pumps and compressor;
Fresh water pumps;
Firefighting pumps;
Bilge pumps;
Deck washing pumps;
Fuel pumps;
Main electric boards.
But there might be much more, such as the stabilizers machinery, the CPP controls etcetera. All the
machinery which builds up vibrations, such as the pumps, should be installed on silent-blocks or
similar anti vibrating devices. The structure of the vessel is like a resonance box and it might spread
vibrations and noise even to cabins quite far from the engine room. It goes without saying that all
machinery and plants must be easily accessible for inspection and maintenance. The engine room must
have at least two entrances (its mandatory for the Registers rules) and at least one of them must be
large enough to allow the passage of bulky loads, spare parts etcetera. There should be a work bench,
with sufficient tools for every emergency repair: machinery might break on board, and sometimes its
not kind enough as to crack down in a harbour or near a maintenance workshop. There should be at
least a vice, a pillar drill, a welding machine, an air compressor and a complete set of wrenches and
tools. Mind that some machinery might need a dedicated kind of tooling, supplied by the builder and
not available on the market. The designer should forecast a locker to store everything in perfect order.
The vessel should finally board all the necessary spare parts, such as drive belts, filters, gaskets
etcetera: the designer shall find a dedicated place for all of these items.
Chapter 10
The plants

10.1. Abstract

A common basic guide line characterizes all synoptic plant drawings: the target is to identify all
the users and their position (bilges, living areas, machinery, tanks etcetera) and thereafter design the
net of the necessary pipes, pumps and valves. The plans I shall examine are synoptic, meaning that
theyre just functional schemes, in opposition to topographic plant which would show the actual
position of each component. The latter is generally responsibility of the installer, under the designers
supervision. Drawings called as-is shall be drafted at the end of the shipbuilding works: they are
the actual on-board survey of the plants. The plants can be made of various materials: stainless steel,
iron, copper, polypropylene, teflon, fibreglass: the material choice depends upon technical and
economic considerations.

10.2. The pumps

The pumps have two main characteristics: the capacity and the head. The capacity is the amount of
liquid that the pump can drive for unit of time: the unit of measure is litres per minute or m3 per hour.
The head is the height difference between the intake and the delivery points. The unit of measure is
metres of water column. These values are in inverse relation: the same pump might drive more liquid
at less height, or less liquid at greater height. For example: the data from a pump-builder technical
sheet state that the same model has a 0.9 m3/h capacity with 10 m/H2O head, or 2.7 m3/h capacity
with 2 m/H2O head.
The designer must keep these criteria in mind while choosing a set of pumps for a vessel.
Therefore a high head pump shall be used for firefighting purpose, as the water must reach areas of
the ship much higher than the engine room, where presumably the pump is placed. On the contrary, a
low head pump can be enough for the bilges service, as intake and outlet points are about level.
Pumps aboard a vessel must be self-priming: that is to say, the pump must be able to suckle liquid
even if the intake pipe is empty. Its a fundamental feature: on the contrary, the crew would have to
manually fill the pump body with liquid in case its been out of work for a long time. Most of the
pumps are electric driven, by means of a dedicated electric motor: they can be fed by 12 or 24 V. d.c.
or 220 or 380 V a.c. It mainly depends from the pump dimension and from the electric plant on board.
Some pumps are mechanical, driven by the MMEE.

10.3. The bilges drain

The bilges are divided by watertight bulkheads which separate various compartments of the vessel
(see figure # 52). Some water usually drips from condensate, from the sea chests, from small spill
from the machineries, from fortuitous shipping of sea water. In each of the vessels compartments
there must be a bilge suction rose, that is to say a pipe connecting the bilge with the pump, with a
filter at its end to stop solid debris. In figure # 52 I have enlarged the pumps area. Please note that
there are two bilge pumps: they can work together or one can backup the other. The suction roses are
connected to a manifold with non-return valves. The bilge water flows into the sea, but for the engine
room bilge water which is supposed to be oily and must be collected in a dedicated tank. All plants
drawings must include a legend (see figure # 53) which explains the symbols, lists the machinery and
possibly the dimensions. A high capacity mechanical bronze pump should be prudently installed on
one of the MMEE: quite useful in the unfortunate case of engine room flooding. For the same reason, a
three ways valve can be installed on the main sea water intake pipe: this valve allows the MMEE to
suckle the cooling water from the bilge instead that from the sea. Its an emergency item only, to be
used in case of major leak.

Fig. 52
Fig. 53

10.4. The fresh water

Structural double bottom tanks hold the fresh water. The water is boarded from the pier through
large size pipes, placed on both the vessels sides. As all boarding pipes, they must be provided with
ventilation pipes. But fresh water is also produced on board by means of reverse osmosis water
makers. Were talking of electric driven machinery which purifies sea water, making it drinkable.
Their output capacity ranges from a few hundreds litres to some thousands per hour: boarding water
from the pier becomes therefore useless. The fresh water that they produce is collected in the tanks
and once theyre full, the excess production is discharged overboard. In fact its convenient not to
stop and restart the water makers too often to keep them in top shape. The fresh water pump is fitted
with a surge tank: this keeps a constant pressure and smooths the impellers pulses, so the water flow
to the taps is continuous and uniform. Also the fresh water pump should have a backup pump, so that
the fresh water supply is granted also in case of failure or maintenance of the main pump. Its plain
that the fresh water pump must have a sufficient head to grant enough pressure also to the top decks
users. Hot water must also feed the wash basins, the bidets, the showers, the tubs, the kitchen: the
warm water comes from one or more boilers. The water is heated by means of electric resistances
and/or by means of exchangers with the heath of the gen sets cooling water outlets. Large vessels
should be provided with a hot water circulating pump: this way the hot water is immediately
available, also on upper bridges, avoiding long waits. The designer should not forget some users
which are peculiar for vessels, such as a shower on the aft bathing platform, a wash basin in the
engine room, the water supply to ice makers, the deck pools, the windshield washer. Decks washing
on large yachts is done by means of fresh water: in this case a water sweetener is appropriate: the
water, devoid of calcar, wont leave unaesthetic white stains on the vessels paint.
10.5. The deck washing

The crew washes the decks either by sea water or by fresh water: all experienced Captain knows
that the teak planking must only be washed by salt water. A sea water pump is therefore necessary:
its also used for washing the mooring chains: they might be messy with mud, sand, algae coming from
the sea bed and would dirt the deck and the chains locker. The deck washing pump can be used to
back-up the firefighting plant in case of emergency.

10.6. The firefighting

Fire on board is possibly the worst nightmare of all sailors. For this reason the vessels are fitted
with several fire prevention and extinguishment means. The simplest are the manual fire
extinguishers: their number, capacity and position follows the Registers rules. In principle they must
not be hidden inside lockers, or in case they are, their position must be clearly identified by a
dedicated sign. Theres a main firefighting plant: the outlet pipes end up in boxes, assigned for the
purpose, placed around the decks in strategic positions. Fire hoses are placed in the same boxes. All
cabins and rooms on board a vessel are provided with one or more heat and smoke sensors:
automatic water sprinklers are installed on every ceiling. The engine room is fitted with a carbon
dioxide automatic and manual remote-control firefighting plant: the gas bottles are placed in a
dedicated room. I already wrote in 9.4 about the automatic or remote-control shutters, to cut- off air
in case of fire in the engine room: the same principle applies to the fuel pipes, which valves must be
shut to cut-off fuel from the engine room. The Registers require that some vessels are fitted with a
portable emergency pump, equipped with its own independent engine and portable by two people.

10.7. The fuel supply

I wrote in 8.1 that the vessel is fitted with structural double bottoms, which host the fuel. Besides
the main tanks, theres a smaller reservoir, placed near the MMEE, called daily tank: the MMEE
and all the machinery are fed from this tank. The fuel is carefully filtered before it gets to the users:
the filters remove water and other impurities. Larger vessels are fitted with one or more rotary filters:
this machinery pumps the fuel in a filter, round the clock, also when the vessel is moored. It draws the
fuel from the furthest tank, filters it and pours it in the nearest tank. Condensate water and sludge
might gather in the tanks bottom: in a calm sea the water, which is heavier than fuel, would not create
problems. But in a rough sea, as the vessel rolls and pitches, the water might mix with the fuel, thus
reducing the MMEE power or even stopping them, right when the crew needs all the available power
to fight the bad weather. Please see 3.4: as I wrote, roughly 10% of the fuel cannot be used, as it fills
the pipes, the filters or remains in the tanks bottom. The MMEE dont use all the fuel that the injection
pumps suckles: some of it goes back to the fuel tank. It is hot and a good idea is to connect this excess
line to the farthest tank, so that the fuel has time to cool. The fuel tanks are all connected and the crew,
by means of a dedicated pump, can move the fuel from a tank to another. Like this the crew can
control and adjust the vessels trim.
10.8. The black waters

The international rules dont allow any vessel to release the WCs black waters into harbours or
coastal waters. The vessels are therefore provided with sewage tanks and treatment machinery. The
black waters tank is fitted with a level alarm, although it must be emptied only manually by the crew.
The black waters must be discharged into a cistern aground, through a dedicated collector. Like all
tanks, also the black water tank needs an outlet air vent which, for obvious reasons, must be placed as
far as possible from the areas dedicated to guests and crew. A good idea could be through the mast

10.9. The electric plant

The sources of energy are essentially three: the batteries, the electricity supply from the pier and
the diesel-electric generators. The batteries are gathered into gas-proof boxes: theyre used for the
MMEE start and as a source for the 24 and 12 V. d.c. lines. The Registers require, for some types of
vessels, that an emergency set of batteries is fitted on board. This set is bound for emergency radio
communications and lights. As an alternative to the batteries there must be an emergency generator,
placed on the highest bridge and independent from all the other energy sources. The pier supply is
alternate current. Some of it feeds directly the a.c. users and some, by means of a rectifier, charges the
batteries and feeds the d.c. users. Finally the diesel-electric generator feed the ship with all the
electric power she needs. The electric plant on small vessels is generally quite simple and all d.c,
either 12 or 24 V. On large yachts, on the contrary, the plant is 220 V, a.c. In each cabin or group of
cabins there might be a rectifier to allow the use of d.c. users, such as the lights. Only very large
vessels use 380 V a.c. The choice of lamps is quite wide since we stick to d.c. There are several
producers, building high quality and lovely design lamps. Unfortunately the same doesnt happen with
a.c. lamps, but the designer can easily put the issue right by placing local rectifiers and going back to
d.c. lamps. The electric plant has a general control panel which is usually placed in the engine room.
Please mind that it might be quite large and heavy. There are also secondary control panels, for each
group of cabin, out of which the most important is in the pilothouse. The electric plant should be built
in sections, each leading to a control box. A dedicated colour and label marks each wire. Let me
highlight a truth that tends to be neglected

Principle number ten: for each metre of the vessels length there is a kilometre of wires and

That is to say: the lack of clarity of a plant design or construction makes the maintenance and
repair impossible.

10.10. The air conditioning

This plant has two functions: the change of air and the cooling and heating of the cabins. A
machinery called primary air treatment group filters the external air, dehumidifies it and minimally
cools it. The air is then lead into the cabins by means of high diameter insulated pipes. Once the
primary air fills the rooms, it is cooled (or warmed) by the air conditioning plant. A set of chillers
and pumps is placed in the engine room, while each cabin is fitted with one (or more) local
machinery, called fan coil. The air conditioning supplier shall help the designer choosing the
number and type of fan coils, which power depends on the rooms volume and environmental
conditions. Its up to the customer to decide whether some particular rooms, such as the toilets or the
engine room, must be air conditioned or not. All fan coils must have an air outlet and intake: they
produce an incredible amount of condensate, such that these machineries are fitted with a tray below.
These trays must be connected to the white waters tank. A thermostat for each cabin controls the
temperature. The designer shall indicate its position on the plans: it shouldnt be near the portholes,
neither near the fan coils and in any case it must be visible and accessible. The fan coils, as well as
the primary air pipes, are quite voluminous. Therefore the designer must carefully plan their position.

10.11. The lockers ventilation

Every closed volume, such as bilges, chain locker, carbon dioxide room etcetera must be
sufficiently aired by means of ventilation ducts and openings. This way the vessel wont stink of
damp, the rooms shall be healthy and the vessels structure will last for long.
Chapter 11
The tonnage

Tonnage is one of the most abused and mistreated terms: whoever isnt familiar with ships often
confuses the tonnage with the displacement (see 4.1 and successive). Its by now plain that the
displacement equals the vessels weight. Instead the tonnage is a measure of volume which includes
the hull and the decks and is only used for vessels having a LOA > 24 metres, therefore ships. The
tonnage calculation is only necessary to ascertain some legal characteristics of the ship, such as the
safety regulations she must abide to, some technical features she must have, her loading capacity and
the fees she must pay when docking or crossing straits or canals. There are various tonnage rules,
such as the Panama Tonnage, the Suez Tonnage or the International Tonnage. All rules take into
consideration the whole volume of the ship, but some allow for deductions, like the engine room
volume, the kitchen and other technical spaces. The unit of measure of the tonnage is the gross ton
(GT), which doesnt equal 1,000 kilograms weight, or a cubic metre: a GT roughly equals 2.6 m3.
Actually, the real formula is GT = K1 * V, where K1 is a multiplier which varies in function of the
volume. Its indicated in the tonnage handbooks. The tonnage has two important steps which influence
the designers work: 300 and 500 GT. Above the latter value the regulations are very strict and
bounding for what concerns the safety appliances, the building methods, the crew characteristics and
the ships operation. I guess that everybody is familiar with the 12 metres SI that used to race for
the Americas Cup. They belong to a family of metric tonnage sailboats that have been famous in the
past, such as the 5.50 SI which raced in the Olympic games. Theyre for sure the best looking and
more graceful sailboats ever built.
Chapter 12
The mooring manoeuvres

12.1. Abstract

A vessel, like a car, is born to travel. But, as the car, sooner or later she shall need a parking
place. The ship can be kept still in a bay, by means of anchor and chain, or moored to a pier.

12.2. The equipment number

The Registers rule the number and weight of the anchors, the diameter and type of chains, the
diameter and length of the mooring lines for each vessel. All of this is listed in a chart table and the
input datum is the equipment number (En). The formula to calculate En is more boring than
difficult: it considers some parameters like the side area of the hull and of the decks. As per the chain,
the Registers state whether it must be studless of with stud link.

12.3. The chain

Figure # 54 shows a stud link (A), a studless link (B) and a shackle (C). D is the link diameter.
B is also the head link in a stud link chain and its placed between the last stud link and the swivel
crown, just before the anchor. The swivel crown is a revolving shackle which allows the anchor and
the chain to turn. Small diameter chains are available in long sections and therefore no joint link is
necessary, while large diameter chains (typically stud link chains) are produced and sold in
lengths. Each length equals 27.50 metres and the segments are joined by means of a special
assembled link, called Kenter link (see figure # 55). The ultimate tensile strength of the steel by
which the chain is made of can be grade 1, grade 2 or grade 3 and naturally it makes a
difference in the chains diameter. Grade 3 steel would allow for a lighter chain: even if the
mechanical characteristics comply with the rules, I wouldnt feel like suggesting such a solution
because what holds the vessel is not the anchor, but is the chains weight. The chain is made of zinc-
coated steel: on some vessels, just for the look of it, the first few metres of the chain could be made of
stainless steel.
Fig. 54

Fig. 55

12.4. The anchor

Figure # 56 shows which parts the anchor is made of and how its linked to the chain. A, B
and C are the same links of figure # 54, even though the C link is generally swivelling. Like this
the anchor is free to turn and to find its position into a recess of the bow, called pocket. E is the
shank, F is the fluke, G is the crown plate. Anchors are made of zinc-plated steel, but they might
sometimes be made of stainless steel for aesthetic purposes. I wish to highlight that the anchor shape
of figure # 56 is only one among the many existing: danforth, flipper, hall and more.
Fig. 56

12.5. The roadstead mooring

Anchoring a vessel in a bay has several benefits. And brings a few problems. Its a calm mooring,
far from noises, from pier neighbours and from meddling crowds. Theres only the sea and the bays
banks, fishes and seagulls. And no port fees. The drawbacks are: you need a tender to reach dry land;
the gen sets must run all the time; the Captain must pay careful attention to the weather conditions. A
vessel windward to a rocky shore is in a very dangerous position in case a strong wind begins
blowing. All good sailors know that what holds the anchor from dragging is the chains weight.
Please note that the vessel tends to traverse and that the chain crawls on the bow, scraping the paint.
The bow should therefore be protected by means of a stainless steel plate.

12.6. The windlass

The chain on large size vessels is quite heavy and cannot be hauled on board by hand. Thereafter a
windlass is necessary. In case there are two anchors and two chains, two windlasses are needed. The
portside one shall turn counter clockwise while the starboard side one shall rotate clockwise. The
main part of the windlass is the wildcat, or gipsy wheel. Its a drum, integral to the windlass shaft,
which hosts the chain links. It goes without saying that there must be a perfect coincidence between
the links (diameter, length, width) and the shape of the drums marks.
Fig. 57

To avoid unpleasant last minute surprises I suggest to supply the windlass builder with a sample of
the actual chain. As figure # 58 shows, above the wildcat theres a drum, or capstan. Its purpose is
hauling ropes and warping. The windlasses are in sight and even though theyre pieces of machinery
they need a good design and finishing touch to fit on a yacht deck. The part of chain which falls into
the chains locker must be long enough, and heavy enough, to pull down the chain, keeping it close
tight to the wildcat. An insufficient weight might cause the chain to come off the wildcat and slip.
Type and power of the windlass are function of the weight and dimensions of the anchor and chain.
The up and down controls are placed near the windlass and in the pilothouse.

Fig. 58

12.7. The hawse pipe

On large vessels the chains pass through structural pipes, called hawse pipes. Figure # 59
shows how the chains roll on a spool which cuts the friction. The chains need stoppers which hold the
chain: in other words, the wildcat is not supposed to hold the chain load. It can be a devils claw or a
sash stopper: the wildcat has a brake but its unfit to keep the chain from turning. One or more water
nozzles should be set in the hawse pipes to wash the chain. Figure # 59 shows kind of a tray, made of
stainless steel, all around the windlasses: it holds the dirt which flows from a drain plug. The
designer should not forget manholes on deck to access the chain locker.

Fig. 59

12.8. The cleats and fairleads

The mooring ropes are belayed to cleats which need to be installed in a comfortable, rational
place. There must be four cleats at the bow, four at the stern and two on the sides. The mooring ropes
cross the bulwark through stainless steel fairleads: they have rounded edges and sometimes rollers, to
protect the ropes from wearing. The vessel mooring must be safe, strong and elastic at a time: figure #
60 shows an example.

12.9. The capstans

Its unthinkable warping an heavy vessel by hand: capstans must therefore be installed also near
the stern to haul the mooring ropes.
Fig. 60
Chapter 13
The classification Registers

Every vessel building must be surveyed and certified by a classification Register, approved by the
Maritime Authority. The best known Registers are:
Registro Italiano Navale (R.I.Na.);
Lloyds Register of Shipping;
American Bureau of Shipping (ABS);
Bureau Veritas;
Det Norske Veritas;
Germanisher Lloyds;
Nippon Kaji Kyokai.
All Registers release an incredible amount of publications, both on paper and electronic. This set
of rules determines the building methods, the safety appliances guideline, settles limits to the vessels
operations, gives her the class and so on. The Registers dont take responsibility for the ships
outcome: they only check that the project complies with the rules, and that the vessel is built as per
the project. At the end of the building the Register releases a compliance certificate after which the
Maritime Authority issues the documents which enable the ship to sail. There are more bodies which
release further certifications, sometime mandatory and sometimes discretionary: for example MCA
(Maritime and Coastguard Agency) and SOLAS (Safety of Life at Sea).
Chapter 14
The general arrangement plan

14.1. Pinpoint the design parameters

We have started a dedicated design exercise: we must therefore presume that we have a customer,
be it a private owner or a boat builder. In any case, when it comes to design the arrangements, the
designer shall get a guideline: several demands that shall include the number of cabins, their location,
the furniture style and so on. The customer often gives the designer a full outfit of leaflets, pages
ripped from yachting magazines, picture of yachts which belong to dear friends or, in case its a
builder, which are built by competitors. Frequently this iconography concerns boats much bigger than
the one the designer is taking care of. Typically the customer asks for a number of cabins, of
bathrooms, of saloons that would hardly fit in a yacht twice as large. Well: after all this is the reason
why he pays a professional. If it were easy, he could have done it alone. The designer, after a few
years work, shall have his own pictures portfolio of yachts that he designed and built, which might be
useful to take inspiration from (drawing inspiration from ourselves is not against professional
ethics) and helpful to find out which are the customers taste and wishes. In other words, to plan
the job. Its an important stage of the designers work, somehow as he was a tailor sewing a custom-
made dress. Several meetings with the customer might be necessary to fulfil this design stage, yet the
importance to understand perfectly his needs is plain. The designer can then skip to the general
arrangements plan drafting.

14.2. The general arrangement plan

We have seen how to design the hull and the decks. Lets now start drafting the arrangements inside
these volumes. The position of the frames, of the bulkheads, of the double bottoms is already set: this
actually means that the designer, when drafting these elements, had already in mind what the vessels
layout would look like. And in fact this brings us to

Principle number eleven: no single part of the vessel lives an independent life, but theyre all
strictly linked together such that every modification done to one will necessarily bring a change
to all the others.

The project is like a vase full of golf balls: there is no way you can move one without changing the
equilibrium of all the remaining balls.
This kept in mind, lets go back to the general arrangement plan, also called GA. This plan must
show the entire vessel: it must therefore include an elevation view (or profile), the plan view of all
decks, a longitudinal section and if ever possible a significant transverse section. This set of
drawings gives to all the parties involved with the project (customer, builder, suppliers) enough
information to build up a realistic idea of what the vessel must be like. Besides, the designer can
check with sufficient accuracy the heights, the functionality of stairs, aisles and passages, the
ergonomics. Yes, because theres

Principle number twelve: the human body dimensions do not shrink only because the boats
rooms are narrow.

Beds, therefore, must have a standard length: not less than 195 centimetres. Their width must be at
least 85 centimetres for a single bed, twice as much for a double one. Doors must have a minimum net
span of 58 centimetres. Aisles should not look like horror-movie corridors and their width must not
be less than 68 centimetres.
The ceilings height should be at least 190 centimetres: its an acceptable figure on small vessels,
while on large yachts, which rooms are larger, it shall be between 200 and 220 centimetres.
Customarily a large room with a low ceiling gives an uneasy feeling of oppression, of incumbent
threat and is clearly out of proportion. Unfortunately theres no mathematic rule which ties the room
area to the ceiling height: at the end of the day its a question determined by the designers taste and
delicacy and by the available space. Unfortunately we must sometimes come to compromises, as in
all jobs, and do the things that are feasible, not the ones we like. The designer, while drafting the GA,
must carefully study the vessels planning scheme, that is to say decide which are the owner and
guests paths, which are the crew paths, where are the emergency escape routes. Its plain that this
feature doesnt apply to small vessels, but it becomes fundamental once the ship has three or more
bridges. On large yachts the designer must consider one or more muster stations: these are the
gathering places where the persons meet in case they have to abandon the ship. Its should be an
easily accessible place, far from likely sources of fire (such as the engine room and the kitchen) near
to the life rafts, not too high above the water (see also Chapter 19).

14.3. The lower deck layout

Figure # 61 shows the lower deck layout of the same yacht which hull weve seen in Chapter 2.
Its only one of the many possible layouts, but its what the customer chose. I have to say that the
general setup of the project might considerably vary from a cultural area of the world to another. This
is a Mediterranean kind of yacht: an Arab, a Chinese, a Russian, an American or a Finnish
customer would certainly want something quite different. Students of the Universities where I teach
often ask me where they have to set the cabins, the bathrooms and the rest: the univocal answer is that
I dont know. Whos in charge of the design work makes the decisions, apart from the customers
requests. In this case, starting from the bow, we have a bathroom and a shower, just abaft the collision
bulkhead. Two stairs coming from the upper bridge suggest that it pertains to a cabin placed above.
Behind a bulkhead there is a VIP cabin with separated toilet and shower. Then two double bed
cabins, mirror like, each with its own toilet. Theres a central stair which leads to the main deck. A
further bulkhead divides the guests cabins from the kitchen. A stair on the left connects the kitchen
with the upper deck. The kitchen is a topic which needs further attention. May be that your customer
usually only eats two salad leaves and a boiled shrimp (let alone what his partner eats, that is to say
nothing), yet he will want a kitchen suitable for a small hotel. The kitchen can be placed below, as in
our case, or on the main deck level. It can be an open space or have glass walls. In any case it must
be rational, functional, well equipped. Behind the kitchen there is the captains cabin (right) and two
double beds cabins for the crew (left). Abaft there is the engine room. The crew cabins dont seem
very comfortable: its an acceptable compromise because on such size vessels the crew dont live
aboard all year round, but only for short periods. On larger yachts, where the crew would spend
aboard eleven months a year, their quarters should be different and much more comfortable. There
seems to be a void space between the sheer, the floors border and the beds. Its not wasted space:
drawing the arrangements starting exactly from the sheer line would be a mistake, one of the most
common the beginner does.

Fig. 61

14.4. Is the arrangement aboard?

Or is it outside the vessel? It might seem a bizarre question but its not. Lets have a look at figure
# 62: the transverse section shows that the hull narrows below the sheer line, as it has a vee shape.
The more we move towards the base line, the narrower it becomes. Therefore it would be a mistake
to design the berth too near the sheer line: either the berth was so high to be unusable (case A), or it
was out of the boat, if at the right height (case B). What we need is a compromise between width and
height (case C): like this the berth will be on board the vessel. Theres a span between the outer end
of the berth and the sheer line projection. In plan view this might appear as a drawing mistake, giving
the impression of wasted space, but its not like this. Some experience and practice shall help the
designer to deem whether the arrangement hes drafting is aboard or not. In any case, throughout the
executive plans drafting, all transverse sections shall be thoroughly checked: not just to make sure that
all pieces of furniture fit inside the vessel, but also to allow some extra space for the passage of
pipes, wires and for the hands of a maintenance operator.

Fig. 62

14.5. The main deck layout

Figure # 63 shows the main deck layout: starting from the bow we find the steel tray upon which
the windlasses are installed (see 12.7). Behind theres a sitting area. Now, moving inside, we see
again the twin stairs coming from the bathroom below. In the centre theres a walk-in cabinet and then
a double bed owners cabin. Abaft theres the pilothouse: its raised above the main deck floor level
and we shall see it later in detail. On the left side theres the stair leading down to the kitchen, and
naturally, just abaft, theres the dining room. The main saloon ends with a large sitting area. The aft
cockpit on deck is equipped with a further sitting area and a folding table. Strange that it might seem
we have

Principle number fourteen: the yacht is always designed with her bow to the right.

Why? Its a mystery, but its been like this since our ancestors engraved log canoes on their cavern
walls. The more attentive reader might have realised that I skipped from principle number twelve to
principle number fourteen: its not superstition, just elementary prudence, the same attitude after
which in our line of business we dont catch fire but only get upset, and we dont get to the
bottom but just thoroughly examine the problems. We dont want to deal with fire and bottoms, in any

Fig. 63

14.6. Hints of ergonomics

Fig. 64

Peoples dimensions are listed by percentile: in other words, theres a majority of individuals
that meet some criteria and a minority which doesnt. The designer should take into consideration the
ninetieth percentile in case his customer is a builder and the vessel is bound to be sold to people that
hell never encounter. Like this he would meet the needs of the largest amount of people. If, on the
contrary, the designer is working for a private owner, a basketball champion for example, hed better
adjust the project on his customers size. Please keep in mind that, sooner or later, the yacht of your
design will certainly have to face the market demands, be it second hand yachts or new ones. I suggest
that you avoid odd dimensions and/or style. This brings us to

Principle number fifteen: every new design starts from the ending point of the previous one.

In other words: dont expect a beginner to jump up and overturn the history of design. Be humble
and start every time from the point that you (or others) have last reached. Only small steps at a time
lead to lasting, sensible and serious innovations. Coming back to ergonomics, please consider that
children will enjoy the vessel too. Kids would never reach the light switches in case the designer
specifies that theyre placed on the ceiling (which actually means that the designer forgot to find them
a clever location, from the very beginning). Figure # 64 shows the ninetieth percentile of men and
women, from 45 to 54 years-old, aka the category of people who buys and uses a yacht. I personally
disagree about the weight figure, but I might go on a diet. Dont get mad with figures: get a tape
metre and measure the common objects around you and around your house. Measure a bed, the chairs
height, the rise and the tread of a step, the sofas seat cushion, the kitchens height. Ask a relative or a
friend to seat at the dining table and check the space that he/she needs for dining in full comfort, make
a note of the door handles height from the floor then ask yourself why all of this should be different
on a boat. It shouldnt. Certainly, the ceilings height wont be 3 metres, like in our house. In 14.2 I
already gave some figures for the ceilings span. These figures concern the clear height, that is to
say the distance from the finished floor to the finished ceiling. Therefore, to a clear height of 200
centimetres we must add (above) the thickness of the ceiling panelling, the framework, the structural
beam, and (below) the finishing material, the raw floor, the framework. Lets say that this brings our
figure up to 230 to 240 centimetres (see figure # 65 and 66). Mind that some of the plants (wires and
pipes) shall pass below the floors and above the ceiling panels, and they need some space. I suggest
that you dont specify ceiling lamps or handrails sticking out below the ceiling: I spent the best years
of my youth hitting my head into the lamps of a small sailing boat and I wouldnt see other human
beings suffer that way.
Fig. 65
Fig. 66
Chapter 15
The executive plans

15.1. The feasible drawings and the essential information

The designer shall start the set of feasible drawings only after the customer officially approves the
GA. You better be prepared: the GA might go through several modifications before its finalized.
Lets imagine we were able to agree with the customer about all the vessels characteristics. Its now
time to say the famous words, the sentence that every respectful designer shall put before his work,
which is

Principle number sixteen: in this *** boat theres not enough space.

Where, in the place of ***, youre free to insert some picturesque, informal and explicit
connotation. Its incredible, but when the time comes to draft the feasible plans all vessels seem to
shrink, to be too small and theres no space for most of the things we want to fit on board. Unlike our
previsions, the floors are narrower, the structures bulkier, the plants take too much space while the
GA allows some approximation, the feasible drawings must be precise, coherent and collated.
Collation means checking that the same information are correctly shown on all the drawings, that
they match with the technical specifications, with the bill of quantities and with the weight
calculation. For example: you draw a stair that goes from the lower deck to the main deck. If it has
eleven steps on one drawing, it must have eleven steps on all the remaining drawings. If a door opens
inside a cabin in a drawing, it shall open inside in all the other drawings. If there is a 70 by 70
centimetres manhole on the deck drawing, the same manhole must show on the cabin ceiling below
and must be listed in the technical specifications and in the bill of quantities. I know: it sounds
evident, clear and obvious. But its not. So many times you modify a drawing and forget to copy the
same change on all the other drawings, which brings chaos to the whole project. To avoid such a mess

Principle number eighteen: all modifications done to a drawing must immediately be copied on
all the others.

In case my readers wonder where principle number seventeen is, please be informed that its in the
same place of number thirteen. The feasible drawings must convey information clearly and efficiently.
Put yourself in the shoes of the people who will receive your drawings and ask yourself whether
theyre readable, plain, complete. Ask yourself which info youd need if you were to build the boat
(or the cabin, the door, the bed, the ceiling). Your drawings should be the answer to these
questions. Consider that the worker who receives your drawings is not in your head, might not have
your preparation, might not even speak and read your language. The designers commitment is
releasing plain, unambiguous, thorough information. Unfortunately theres not a unique rule. Some
shipyards have decennial experience, in-house competent technical office and skilled manpower.
These builders might construct the vessel just by means of the GA, a few survey visits of the designer
and a set of finishing materials samples. Others might need much more information: at the bottom of
the scale there are those who even need the drawings of the screwdriver and the screw plus a short
handbook explaining how to use them (see figure # 67).

Fig. 67

Fig. 68
Usually the feasible drawings of the arrangements must show each room in several views:
a plan view of the whole room;
a plan view of the floor, without the furniture;
a plan view of the ceiling;
a left side longitudinal section;
a right side longitudinal section;
several transverse sections.
Lets see a few examples: the following figures make reference to the same vessel that we saw in
14.3 and 14.5. Figure # 68 shows the plan view of one of the twin cabins. Please note some
interesting details: the centre line and the stations (17, 18, 19, 20) show in the upper part of the
drawing, as per principle number one. The legenda (which I have omitted on the following figures for
the sake of clarity) on the right lists several useful information, such as which lamps must be
installed, which finishing materials shall be used, the colours, the hardware (handles, portholes)
and the suppliers brands. There is a small scale drawing of the whole lower deck: the cabin in
question is highlighted (dotted, actually). This little trick helps workers to understand quickly which
cabin the drawing makes reference to.

Fig. 69

It keeps workers from wondering Where the heck are we? when they deal with large vessels.
There are a few notes: unfortunately theyre not readable due to the printing scale, and besides theyre
in Italian. Shortly they say: All dimensions must be verified on board; All dimensions are in
millimetres; All drawings must be approved by the joiner before the works start and more. The
floor height is 1,450 millimetres from the base line. The portholes seem to be horizontal, but naturally
theyre not: its just a drawing expedient to show their position and dimensions. Figure # 69 shows
the cabins ceiling, the dimensions of the finishing panels, the lights and how theyre linked together
in groups. The next drawing (figure # 70) shows the floor without the furniture and explains which
wood its made of, the wood strips dimensions and mainly indicates that theres a manhole under the
bed. Its an inspection manhole for the double bottom tanks.

Fig. 70

Please mind that the inspection manholes are fundamental and that no piece of furniture or partition
bulkhead should fall above them, or else they could be opened. The following two figures (# 71 and #
72) are the longitudinal and transverse sections of the same cabin. Note that we left some void space
aside for the plants. Finally figure # 73 shows a mix of drawings of the bathroom.
Fig. 71

The partition bulkheads reach to the vessels structure and the floors are fixed to these bulkheads,
never vice versa. Let me highlight that all the drawings are perfectly collated: each element occupies
its place in all the views, the dimension coincide, the portholes are in the same position and theyre
listed in the technical specification and bill of quantity, together with all the lights, hardware etcetera.
Fig. 72

The correct procedure to design a cabin is working on the three views at one time. Theres no way
a designer could draft the complete plan view first and then skip to the sections: it wouldnt work.
The drawings must progress together and there will be thousands of modifications: please remember
principles number eleven and eighteen! The designer must have clear in his mind what he wants to
achieve: at the end of the day, a drawing is only a way to convey your ideas to others. Therefore: first
have ideas, and then design.
Fig. 73

All the workshop details (like the rulers, the mortises, the tenons, the minute hardware) are
missing in the feasible drawings of the cabin shown above. The designer should leave such
information to the joiner who, in any case, will follow his own traditional working method. If you do
the detailed drawings they would probably be totally neglected: so, lets spare the hustle.

15.2. The specifications and the bill of quantities

A written document must go with the feasible drawings: its the technical specifications booklet
(briefly called Tech Spec) which describes the vessel in detail. Her main dimensions, where and
how shes built, which material is made of, the painting cycle, the plants, the arrangements, the trials
and so on. The Tec Spec could be made of only a few pages, up to a few hundreds, depending on the
amount and the importance of the works. Figure # 74 shows an example: its just the index of a Tec
Spec and gives a rough idea of which are the arguments. The Tec Spec booklet certainly is an
extremely boring text, both for the compiler and for the reader. Yet its absolutely essential. It goes
without saying that also the Tec Spec needs to collate with the drawings: whatever appears in the Tec
Spec must also show in the plans.


H.4) D.B & TANKS
O.15) MAST

Fig. 74

Besides the Tec Spec the designer must compile a spreadsheet, called bill of quantities (or
BOQ). This document lists all and every item that the vessel is made of: it goes without saying that all
these items are listed in the Tec Spec and show in the drawings. The charts columns are:
Item: it tells what we are dealing with (engine, generator, chair, porthole etcetera);
Category: the vessels components are grouped by homogeneous kinds, like machinery, air
conditioning, kitchen and so on;
Supplier: lists the builder or supplier which the designer suggests;
Address, city and nation: of the above said suppliers;
Contact person: sometimes a purchase is easier if you personally know who to deal with;
Telephone, fax, e-mail: no comment;
Catalogue code: this piece of information makes the life of the shipyards purchasing
manager much easier, and reduces the risk of misunderstandings;
Dimensions: quite useful for the designer and for the builder;
Number of items: lists how many portholes, how many reading lights, how many chairs and
so forth;
Reference drawing: tells which drawings show the item;
Unitary and total weight: keeps under control the vessels weight;
Delivery, outfit and test: the builder shall fill this column, listing the dates to keep the
building schedule under control.
The list of items amounts to some hundreds entries: its an in-progress document. Some
components might not be available, or the delivery schedule is too long, or the owner has changed his
mind. Be ready to re-do the work several times: six or seven is the average standard. In any case all
changes must be carried on the drawings and the Tec Spec, and vice versa.

15.3. The owners cabin

Fig. 75

The owner spends a lot of money for his new yacht. The designer should try and give him as much
comfort and luxury as possible, like a spacious, quiet, cosy and elegant cabin. If the vessels size
allows it, the owners cabin should have an independent bathroom and a walk-in closet like in figure
# 75. If the yacht is large enough there might be more luxuries, like a sauna, even though the
classification Registers tend to make a fuss about saunas. Perhaps the designer could fit-in a
dedicated corner for a computer, or even a separate studio. A safe is necessary, and it should be
hidden. May be behind a painting: who would ever imagine that the picture hides a safe? All thieves
in the world. Well, if you have a better idea, write to me. Weve already installed safes all over the
yachts of our design: inside the hangers, below the beds, behind the bathrooms mirrors. We run short
of ideas by now. It goes without saying that the safe must be solidly fixed to a structure of the ship.
The owner guards his precious belongings and cash in the safe and then he forgets the combination. Is
it his wedding date? The first or the second? His wifes birthday? Which wife? If the designer is
allowed to do so, hed better make a confidential note to help the owner in the time of needs. The
cabin must be bright. If ever possible, the designer should fit a manhole on the cabins ceiling: much
better if its large enough to serve as an emergency escape. There could be one or more skylights, that
is to say fixed windows, flush with the deck. They should be fitted with curtains, or may be made of a
special liquid crystals glass: when its electrified its transparent and when the power is off, it turns
black. Portholes or windows must be fitted on the cabins sides: the curtains must be two. One light,
to filter the daylight; another, opaque, to darken the room.

15.4. The guests cabins

People enjoy yachts only if theyre comfortable, with the possible exclusion of sailors (including
myself), who savour pain, sufferance and inconvenience. The owner will want to lodge his guests at
the very best. Often the guests are the owners kids. Everybody knows that children dont love to
spend their holidays with parents: if, moreover, their cabins are pokey, low, dark and noisy the
family peace is at risk. More than this, there could be an awful difference between the nice cabin,
the less nice and the horrible one. The designer should therefore try to plan similar guest cabins:
in case its not really possible, he should compensate a flaw with a quality. For example, the low
ceiling cabin might have two portholes instead of one; or the cabin with transverse beds might have a
private toilet. See figure # 61: you might notice that two guest cabins are mirror like.

15.5. The toilets

The toilets of a vessel are also called heads. I shall write later about the bathroom features,
which are somehow different from the house ones, and yet a yacht toilet must have the same
equipment, that is to say one or two wash basins, a WC, a bidet, a shower. Large vessel might be
fitted with a bathing tub or even a Jacuzzi pool. The designer should not draft the wash basin
alongside the sheer line: there must be a mirror above the wash basin and it would be in the
portholes way. The WC and the bidet should be set along the vessels side: like this theres more
space for the intake and outlet pipes. The design shall include several lockers and drawers to hold all
the necessary gadgets which help men to be less disgusting and women to be more attractive.
Remember that nothing can be left around: whatever is free to do so would fall due to the vessels
motion (see figure # 73).

15.6. The crew quarters

I wrote about it in 14.3: let me add that often the captain has the last word when it comes to buy a
yacht. Apart from all other reflections, its wise giving the crew a comfortable arrangement. A happy
crew, well fed and refreshed does a better service to the yacht, grants a higher safety standard and is
kinder towards the owner and his guests. Privacy is a must both for the owner and for the crew: the
designer must therefore carefully study the paths and pay special attention to the sound-proofing of the
divisional bulkheads.

15.7. The kitchen

The kitchen design depends on the boats dimensions and on her destination: one thing is the small
sailboat for the week-end cruise, another is the large charter vessel. The design for a guzzlers
kitchen shall be different from the salad-and-shrimp-eaters one. In any case the kitchen must include
all the features that allow to cook food, to preserve it, to extract the fumes, to dispose of the waste, to
clean everything spic and span and to renew the air. As safety is the designers main concern, the
kitchen (a dangerous place) must have pan-stoppers on the cooktop and handrails all around. In the
foreword I wrote that a yacht designer should also be a sailor, unless he/she wouldnt know the
problems hes supposed to deal with: similarly I wonder how a designer could draft a really
functional kitchen unless he/she has ever cooked or washed the dishes (see figure # 76).

Fig. 76

15.8. The pilothouse

The pilothouse is the vessels core. Its also the place of dreams and imagination, where the vessel
becomes an airplane or a spaceship. The designer has the responsibility of blending the navigation,
communication and electronics instruments into a pleasant and exciting design (see figure # 77 and #
Fig. 77

There are red lights for night service (they wont blind the crew) and all the instruments are the
same listed in the Tec Spec and BOQ. The view from the pilothouse must be perfect: the designer
must therefore pay careful attention to the ergonomics: all instruments must be at hand and easily
readable. The MMEE controls should be placed right of the wheel, unless the captain is left-handed.
The VHF radio, which is often used, needs to be near the wheel too. Dont get mad about the wheel:
on many large size vessels its not there anymore. Theres only a joystick, because large yachts
usually sail under the automatic pilot control at large and the captain manoeuvres from the fly bridge
in restricted waters only.
Fig. 78

15.9. The sitting room

The readers of this handbook might think that the sitting room is the area where the owner and his
guests live. But they would be wrong. The vessels that we design are mainly used in summer: during
the day the passengers live on the decks and at night they change and go for dinner at a restaurant. Yet,
its the first room that everybody sees when boarding the vessel, and the first impression is the most
important. The sitting room also includes the dining area (see figure # 79). The room should be bright,
with large windows shaded by light curtains. Some of the arrangement (which is known as loose
equipment) might come from the household market, such as armchairs, sofas, coffee tables, provided
that the wood theyre made of is suitable for marine use and that the hardware (screws, hinges
etcetera) is made of stainless steel.
Fig. 79
Chapter 16
The details and the tricks

16.1. The differences from the household furniture

The boat moves and the house does not: this is the main and most obvious difference. There are
several other differences, more elusive and deceptive. Lets focus on the movement: as I wrote
before, a yacht designer who doesnt sail and therefore doesnt experience what a really bad
tempered sea can do, cant reasonably take all the necessary measures in his design work. All pieces
of furniture should be fitted with some kind of anti-rolling device. No matter how its done: it might
be a simple wood stripe glued and screwed or something a little more complex, as per figure # 80.

Fig. 80

A sailboat, which lists sensibly when sailing close to the wind, must have higher anti-rolling
features. Anti-rolling devices could be unsightly, mainly in a refined, rarefied interior design. The
designer might then suggest the use of dedicated trays. A sheet of anti-skid material could be glued
below the trays and they should not fall from the countertops. Its more a farmers solution than a
sailors, but its better than collecting objects from the floor. All the drawers and the lockers must
have some kind of latch which prevents them from opening when the vessel rolls and pitches. The
drawers might have a fall-down type of rails. The doors must be fitted with stoppers to hold them
open (see figure # 81). The boat is a humid space: all the lockers, the kitchen cabinets, the cupboards,
the drawers should have some kind of air intake to avoid mildew. It could be simple holes on the
shutters, or a straw network front, or wooden venetian blinds. The wise owner should let all lockers
and drawers open when he leaves the boat for a long period, but sometimes he forgets to do so. As
the boat moves, the people on board often lose balance and hit the furniture which therefore should
have rounded or soft edges.

Fig. 81

Bruises are part of the sailors attire, but broken bones should be avoided. Yachting magazines
show recent yachts interiors all made of sharp corners, steel and crystal dihedron, extremely
minimalistic, without any anti-rolling device or handrail. Yet, this handbook concerns vessels
designed to sail the sea, not to be kept moored to a pier to show off. Finally we have

Principle number nineteen: all the closed volumes of the vessel must be easily accessible.

Meaning that the back panels of every hanger, locker and closet must be removable for inspection
and maintenance.

16.2. The doors

Please remember principle number twelve: the boat ergonomic doesnt change only because the
space and the volume are smaller than at home. Yet we must sometimes compromise: at the end of the
day if theres no space, theres no space! The doors (see 14.2) should have a minimum net span of 58
centimetres, but also should not be larger than 75. Wider doors would be hard to use and to fit:
besides, they wouldnt get along with the arrangements. The doors height should be approximately
180 centimetres, compatibly with the ceiling height. The doors on old vessels used to have a sill,
some 15 centimetres high above the floor. It was due to stop water, to preserve the bulkhead
wholeness and to trip the non-sailors, thus separating the tares from the wheat. The most recent trend
is to cancel doors sills: its more elegant and allows also mountain shepherds to sail without
stumbling. The hinges and the rabbet could be on-sight or hidden inside the doorpost. The doorpost
could be made of the same wood of the furniture, or made of varnished wood or finally bought from a
supplier who builds them in light alloy. The hinges and the rabbet might be set inside the bulkhead
thickness, without a doorpost. This design solution is more elegant and clean, but its feasible only in
case the bulkheads thickness is at least 50 millimetres. Naturally the bulkheads wont be made of
marine plywood: they would be too heavy. The partition bulkheads are made of a light material: two
thin marine plywood sides and rigid polyurethane foam inside. Theyre made and sold by several
qualified and certified suppliers. The designer might also use sliding doors. Im personally against
sliding doors, apart from the design for physical impairment (see chapter 20). Sliding doors dont
close well and leave open splits: therefore they dont stop smell and noise. Theres always an engine
frequency which will make the doors rattle. Finally the sliding doors must be somehow fixed in the
open position, but sooner or later somebody might forget to fix the door, which might close abruptly
when the vessel rolls. And its very dangerous. Sliding doors should be the second best choice: in any
case its better to install them in a longitudinal opening instead that on a transverse bulkhead, because
the ship rolls more than she pitches. Doors can have rounded or squared corners: rounding the
corners used to be a way not to create possible cracking spots in a bulkhead, and it could still be a
good idea. The designer should not choose the handles, the lockers, the hinges and all the minute
hardware from household production. Everything must be in stainless steel and besides the bulkheads
(and doors) thickness is quite lower than it is at home: there are several specialised suppliers that use
the right materials and know how to stop the vibrations. Please dont forget a door-stopper (see figure
# 81). The final precision adjustment of all doors must be done only when the vessel is afloat: even if
the yacht is quite large, her trim will slightly change once she leaves the bilge blocks to float in the

16.3. The natural lighting

A boat with bright rooms is liveable, cosy and cheerful. The designer task is to find as many
natural light sources as possible. These are the windows, the manholes, the skylights and the
portholes. Lets begin with the windows: the surfaces of a vessels hull and decks are curved, while
the glass sheets are flat. The windows must therefore be installed into flat recesses. The glass is
glued to the structure. The glue might change its chemical and physical characteristics due to a long
exposure to sunlight. It should be protected from the ultraviolet rays by means of a black printed strip
running around the edges (see figure # 82). In case the designer doesnt like the black strip, a stainless
steel (or bronze) frame could be glued above the printed area. Please note that the lower edge of the
recess is inclined downwards to let water flow. The glass type and its thickness are outlined by the
classification Registers. Coloured glasses are not allowed in the pilothouse. Talking about the
pilothouse: sometimes the front windows are flat but the designer might want them curved. Its
feasible: the glass must be curved in an oven, above a steel mould. Feasible but expensive and time
consuming. Most of the windows on the deck sides cannot be opened: at the end of the day the vessel
is air conditioned (see 10.10), and besides fixed windows are for sure watertight. The manhole (see
figure # 83) is an opening on the deck, generally square, large enough to allow an average size person
to pass through. It has two frames: one is fixed to the deck and the other, hinged to the first, holds the
glass or, to say better, a sheet of coloured methacrylate. The skylight is a smaller opening, and
sometimes its of the fixed type. The portholes are placed on the hull sides, which are curved while
the porthole flange is flat. Like the windows they must be installed into flat recesses.

Fig. 82

Fig. 83

The structure which connects the outer opening on the hull and the porthole is called neck (see
figure # 84 and figure # 85). The portholes shape is up to the designers choice: they can be
rectangular, round, oval All portholes have a device to keep them open: its either a friction on the
hinges or a simple hook hanging from the ceiling.

Fig. 84

They should be fitted with micro switches: a panel in the pilothouse shall inform the captain
whether the portholes are closed or open. Mosquito nets are a useful accessory. The Register might
impose that the portholes are fitted with a storm shutter. The designer must indicate the portholes
position on all drawings: they must be ergonomic, that is to say easily reachable by an average
person, not just by Spider Man. The designer should consider that the portholes contribute to the
throughout look of the vessel. They should be placed in such a way that fits into the external boats
design and, at the same time, is coherent with the arrangements. Please remember principle number
eighteen: quite often, during the design work, the designer might need to move one or more portholes.
Abiding to principle number eighteen shall save the designer from one of the great evergreens of
(careless) yacht design: ending up with a porthole inside a locker or across a bulkhead. The Registers
impose a minimum height of the portholes lower edges above the LWL: in case their position is
deemed critical, they might ask that the portholes are fitted with a captains key instead of the usual
wing nuts. In other words, its the captains responsibility to decide whether they can be open or not,
depending from the conditions of the weather.

Fig. 85
16.4. The artificial lighting

The skilful use of the artificial lightning can generate a particular mood; it can even enhance some
volumes and hide others or give a feeling of larger or narrower volumes, changing the perception of
reality. The designer needs some experience to design this kind of lighting. A simple lamp, hanging
from the wires of a ceiling, is more than enough to light a room. Everybody has experienced this kind
of lighting in the first days after relocation. And maybe even for a longer time than just for the first
days. Possibly for a few months. Yet, this is not what customers expect from our design work. Lets
fix a milestone: electric power feeds the lights on a vessel. I should actually call it tension, but I
want this handbook to be as plain as possible. Therefore: electric power, either 12 or 24 V. d.c. (see
10.9). The source of light is the lamp: its lighting capacity is measured in Watts. For the same power,
the light can be whitish or yellowish or in other words, cold or warm. These adjectives dont mean
that the lamp is iced or hot, but make reference to a scale called CCT (Correlated Colour
Temperature), measured in Kelvin grades. The higher is the Kelvin number, the colder is the light.
The designer should pay attention to such details, because a wrong light colour could spoil an
emotional effect. Most of the household light arent fit for marine use. The materials the lamps are
made of must resist in the humid and saline environment, which is not the case of domestic
appliances. Luckily enough, there are several specialized suppliers of marine appliances. The
overhead light is the most commonly used (see figure # 86). It could stick out from the ceiling, whole
or in part, or else be completely recessed into the ceiling panel: in the latter case the designer should
pay attention to the heath dispersion.

Fig. 86

The lamp might even burn the ceilings upholstery. Apart from the overhead lamps, the designer
could use some diffused lights for a softer effect. The lamps might be hidden above a counter ceiling,
behind a vertical panel, or may be strategically placed below the beds or finally concealed in a
dedicated recess into the partition bulkheads, a few centimetres above the floor. The old, classic
abat-jour might be used to create cosy corners, where to read a book or listen to the music. Courtesy
spot-lights should be used in the passageways and on the stairs rises. The lights on deck must of
course be watertight. A number called IP (International Protection) measures the capacity of an
electric appliance to stand up to humidity and water spray. See figure # 87: its a short digest of the
protection scale. IP 20 is enough for cabins lights, while for the showers it should be IP 44 or 54.
Lights on deck must be at least IP 65. Optical fibre can give peculiar light effects. Its made of an
illuminator (its a lamp) which can be placed above a ceiling or inside a locker, provided its easily
accessible for maintenance. Several optical fibres depart from the illuminator: their final diameter is
few millimetres. They dont light much but can create design patterns, or highlight a furniture detail.
Their light is completely cold, and this time I mean the real temperature. Optical fibre lighting has
two issues: one is the cost, because its pretty expensive. The other is the maximum possible length of
the fibres: only from six to seven metres. The designer must remember to draft courtesy spot-lights
inside the hangers, with a micro-switch linked to the lockers shutters.

IP 44 Protection against spray

IP 54 Protection against spray
IP 55 Protection against low pressure jets of water
IP 65 Protection against low pressure jets of water
IP 66 Protection against powerful jets of water and heavy seas
IP 67 Protection against the effect of temporary immersion between 15 cm and 1 m
IP 68 Protection against long periods of immersion under pressure
IP 68-XX Protection against long periods of immersion at XX m

Fig. 87

16.5. The shower

Im not going to bother my readers with the detailed description of the showers hardware. Let me
just point my finger to the shower of figure # 88: its clearly a feature for the pleasure-loving and its
only fit for large vessels, where theres a water maker and no supply shortage. The shower floor is
made of a teak grating. Its not slippery and lets the water flow. The shower floor should conveniently
be one centimetre lower than the bathrooms, so that the water wont spill off.
Fig. 88

16.6. The bathroom appliances

The wash basins are the same as in our houses. Never ever use flat bottom basins. The vessel is
never exactly even and some water shall always remain in a corner. At home the inlet and outlet pipes
of the bathroom features disappear into the wall or under the floor. On a vessel there are no such thick
walls and the designer must forecast a piece of furniture to host and hide the pipes. The WC doesnt
flush by gravity as it does at home. A dedicated pump, placed just behind the bowl, drives the black
water into a sewage tank (see 10.8). The bidets style must be equal to the WC: they generally belong
to a series with the same design.

16.7. The curtains

One of the worse accidents that can happen to a vessel is fire on board. The statistics say that the
hottest starting points of a blaze are the kitchen, the engine room and the curtains. For this reason
some of the materials the vessel is made of are fire-resistant. These materials are classed: from 0
to 5, where 0 is the more fireproof. The curtains should be Class 1. They should have two
rails: one above and one below: like this they wont wave when the ship rolls. Waving curtains are
among the best and safest ways to get everyone seasick. The designer might prefer venetian blinds: in
such case they must have two taut side lines to avoid beatings and vibrations. The curtains could be
fixed by means of snap buttons in case the windows have irregular shapes.

16.8. The mirrors

I only mention the mirrors to recommend not using them. Even old seadogs get seasick when
looking at their mirrored image, when the ship rolls.
16.9. The plugs and the sockets

Finally a nice surprise: theyre the same we use at home. Certainly not the grandmothers pear-
switch above the bed, but the wall boxes and the switches are the same. The boxes take some space:
their depth is roughly 4 centimetres. Therefore they must be installed where theres enough room. That
is to say: it wouldnt work placing the switch on a 20 millimetres marine plywood wall. The box
would stick out on the opposite side. The designer should place the switches on lockers sides, or he
could forecast a double partition bulkhead where necessary. Generally the right position for the
switch is near the cabins door, on the same side of the handle of course. One thing not to do is
disregard the switches position while drawing the plans and later tour the vessel with the electrician,
trying to find a feasible solution. One generally ends up placing the switches on the ceilings: and the
kids? (See 14.6). Please mind the difference between a switch and a deviator. The customer will
want to enter his cabin and switch the light on, and then will want to switch off the same light from his
bedside. In this case he doesnt need a switch, but a deviator.

16.10. The ceilings

The ceilings upholstery cannot be made out of a single piece. It must be done with separate panels,
covered with the material that the designer has chosen. The raw panels are made of a thin marine
plywood layer: roughly from 5 to 10 millimetres. The finishing material can be leather, imitation
leather, fabric. The panels might be just painted. In any case the joining lines between the panels are a
delicate issue. The whole work outcome is ugly unless theyre perfect. The panels are fixed to the
framework by means of flasks and bayonets, dedicated snap buttons or simply by means of Velcro
strips. Dont ever design a flat ceiling, mainly if its a large one. Always design a little camber. For a
strange optical illusion, flat ceilings give the impression of falling in the middle. The designer
should work the ceiling, drafting areas with different heights, inserting hidden lights, slightly
changing the colours. Finally: remember that light colours seem to raise the ceiling. On the opposite,
dark colours give the impression of a lower span.

16.11. The floors

As I wrote in 15.1, the partition bulkheads reach to the vessels structure and the floors are fixed to
these bulkheads. Therefore the floor rests against the bulkheads, and not the bulkheads on the floors.
Please go back to figure # 66: a raw layer of marine plywood rests upon the framework. This
provisional floor, unfinished yet, shall be used during the building works. The installation of the final
floor is one of the last works to be undertaken. During the building the workers come and go with
heavy shoes, the tools fall, the glue and paint drip a mess. The designer must draw the necessary
openings in the floor, in correspondence of the double bottoms manholes. Floors can be made of
several materials. The carpet floor is the easiest, quicker and sometimes cheaper. Its not slippery and
it doesnt require a huge amount of work. The market offers beautiful carpets made of wool, cotton
and even synthetic fabric. The carpet should be fire-resistant and comply with Class1 (see 16.6).
The contraindications are the cleaning difficulty, the water retention and the lack of design originality.
The floor might be finished with one of the hundreds wood types: to name a few, teak, mahogany,
walnut, oak or weng. The wood could be installed in strips: longitudinal, traversals, 45 inclined.
Or it could come in tiles, large or small. In case the wood seems too predictable, the designer might
use thick leather tiles. It has a beautiful look, a lovely scent and a soft touch. Like all gorgeous things,
its very, very expensive. And certainly, a Coke split on a leather floor by a careless guest might put
an end to an old friendship. If the vessel is very large, the designer might use stone or marble for the
floors. The increase of weight wouldnt be significant if compared to the whole displacement of the
ship. Theres no real reason to design the same floor finishing for a saloon and for the cabins. I would
say that, on the contrary, they should be different. And a carpet floor is quite suitable for the cabins: it
also dampens noises.

16.12. The sofas and the armchairs

Sofa and armchairs should be fixed features: that is to say, they should be secured to the ships
structure, unless theyre bought and installed as loose equipment (see 15.9). In case theyre part of the
joiner supply, the designer should forecast some opening in the structure, so that the hollow lower
part of the sofas can be used as storage volume. The upholstery is made of polyurethane foam with
different densities. There should be a hard inner core surrounded by a softer layer. The final layer
should be made of tetrapolyethylene. Like this the sofas cushions would look and feel soft, but would
resist to a sitting person weight. Before making a final decision the designer should have some raw
cushions made, with different sizes, design and hardness. Sometimes what looks comfortable on the
drawings its actually not once its built.
Chapter 17
The furniture materials

17.1. The marine plywood

Its the most commonly used wood in the boatbuilding industry. Most of the arrangements are made
of marine plywood. As it name suggests, its made of several thin plies or layers of wood. Each ply
crosses the following one at 90 angle. This solution compensates for the wood deformations. The
plies are glued together under high temperature and pressure. The glue is resistant to humidity. The
outer final surface of the panels is made of a noble wood, such as okoum. The designer will later
chose how to finish the surface: it could be covered with Formica, fabric, leather of a thin layer of
wood called scaleboard, roughly 2 millimetres thick, which could be teak, mahogany, walnut etcetera.
The plywood edges absorb water: they should never be left on sight but should be finished by means
of glued wood slats. The designer might need to insert wood gratings in his design, like for the fan-
coils inlets and outlets, or for the lockers ventilation. Gratings should not be cut from a plywood
panel: the wood layers would show on the edges. Its cheap but ugly. Gratings should be made of
solid wood. Marine plywood is quite heavy: its specific weight is 0.45. As an alternative the
designer could use the light material I mentioned in 16.2.

17.2. The solid wood

The solid wood isnt much used for boatbuilding, apart for the framework and for some details of
the furniture. Solid wood has the annoying tendency to shrink, to bend, to crack, to stretch. In other
words, it might bring a lot of headaches if its not perfectly seasoned. The example in figure # 80
shows a rounded edge, made of solid wood. It goes without saying that the same wood type must be
used for the scaleboards and the solid wood details.

17.3. The briar

The real briar comes from the root of the homonymous plant. Pipe smokers know it well because
its what the chamber of their pipes is made of. Several other types of wood are called briar, but
they come from different trees and never from their roots. The briar comes from sections of the trees
where branches have been cut or where parasites have caused some kind of illness. These parts are
machine-sliced and the outcome are thin wood sheets with beautiful patterns. The size of the sheets of
briar wood is small (roughly 25 by 35 centimetres) and the producer must tie them together with the
same order by which they were cut, so that their pattern is consecutive. Briar should be used with
moderation. First of all, the briar wood is beautiful if it appears here and there, as a precious element
of decoration. A whole arrangement made of briar is sickening, like an indigestion of caviar. Then:
the briar wood sheets are small and have irregular shaped edges. Therefore the woodworking is time
consuming and needs very qualified manpower. The briar wood sheets are full of small holes: these
imperfections need repairing, and its a wearing procedure. Briar wood is a rare material, and the
designer should avoid choosing some kind of wood thats not easily available: please stay down to
heart. Commonly used briar woods are the Brazilian walnut, the manzanita, the myrtle, the mahogany,
the walnut, the oak and the California redwood. All of these names might sound unfamiliar, unless one
of my readers is the woodworkers son. I suggest that the beginner visits a joiners workshop and
humbly asks to be given some scrape of wood, may be also asking for more info, such as how, why
and where its used. Im sure that nobody would refuse a piece of waste. The same procedure could
be used in a marble workshop because

Principle number twenty: you cannot be an interior designer unless youre familiar with the

The market offers a poorer material which might look similar to the briar wood, at least for the
unexperienced eye. Several layers of wood are glued one above the other, inclining the veining at
random. The thin wood layers cut from this pack look somehow like briar, but it stands to the real
thing like the surimi stands to the lobster.

17.4. The types of wood

Books have been written about the hundreds existing types of wood. Some of them are fit for
boatbuilding, some must be avoided. The classic woods are teak and mahogany. Mahogany is rare
and expensive. The market has found two cheaper and more available types of wood which resemble
mahogany. Theyre called assie mahogany and sapele mahogany. Actually assie and sapele have
nothing to do with real mahogany but I must honestly admit that theyre quite similar to the original.
Also walnut has an alter ego, called anegr. Even teak has a lookalike: the iroko. This wood is more
yellow that teak and its cutting dust is highly allergenic. The surface of all woods can be processed in
several ways: it can be whitened, painted or even sandblasted. The outcome is very different and the
designer had better have some sample done before making a final decision. Its impossible to write a
short summary about all the existing types of wood: I just wish to highlight that pale woods, such as
birch, ash, linden and oak tend to change colour when exposed to direct light. Try and leave a
magazine for a week on an ashwood table under the sunlight. Its mark will clearly show when you
remove it. Some types of wood are harder than others and less workable, some arent available in
long boards, but only in short ones etcetera. The topic is vast and fascinating: I suggest the beginner to
examine it in depth, not only for professional reasons but also for personal culture. It could be the
discovery of a fabulous world.

17.5. The stonework

Three families actually fall under the name stone: marbles, granites and stones. Theyre different
for their genesis, mechanical characteristics, grain, solidity, workability and mainly for their
hardness. The hardness of a stone is measured in Mohs grades: the soft talc value is 1, the hard
diamond is 10. Marble goes from 3 to 4; granite from 6 to 7. The designer should not choose a stone
just from a small sample. This should be only a primary criterion, after which the designer should
visit the marble workshop and check the actual stone leaf because the colour and the veining might
sensibly change from one stone block to another. The designer can find the most complete catalogue
of stones in cathedrals. Go there and try to identify the marbles, the granites and the stones. The most
commonly used stone is marble. There are plenty, of different types, with an incredible variety of
colours and patterns. They range from the Carrara pure white to the light blue of the macauba and
Bahia; from the Portugal pink to the Siena yellow; from the Indian absolute black to the Greek crystal,
which is semi-transparent. The total weight of the ship should be kept under strict control: to save
weight, the marble leafs are cut in thin slices and then glued on a bee-nest aluminium and epoxy resin
structure. Only a few details are made of solid marble, like the torus. Granites are much harder than
marble, and therefore less workable. Stones are much softer and less lasting. Their microcrystalline
cohesion is feeble and they easily break, and yet some of them are beautiful. Some stones arent fit for
use on board a vessel: for example the limestone or even the Carrara pure white, which is stunning
but far too delicate. The stone surface can be treated in several different ways, thus getting quite
diverse colours and effects. What follows is a short list of the possible treatments:
The designer should have some samples of the surface treatment done: theyre all handmade and
the result might be sensibly different from one hand to another.

17.6. The fabrics

As I wrote before, the fabrics must be fire resistant (Class 1). The fabrics are among the most
noticeable features of an arrangement: there are the curtains, the sofas, the bedspreads and much
more. The final decision about the vessels look is up to the designers sensibility and to the
customers taste. The upholstery could be made of classic damask cloths, or of a monastic white
linens sequence. I just wish to suggest that, in any case, the designer should specify that the fabrics
must be wetted before theyre cut and sawn. This way the fabric wont ever shrink and the customer
wont complain. Please check which is the height of the cloth: if its too low, a lot of joints will be
necessary. The design pattern must match and it can become a serious headache. Besides, there are a
lot of scraps. Check also the cloth weight: some fabrics are extremely light, and others are as tough as
a tin foil. The choice depends from what theyre used for.

17.7. The leather

The leather is a wonderful and noble material. It smells good and transforms all rooms into a cosy
nest. The leather quality and thickness changes with the part of the animals skin its made of, and also
with the way its treated. Commonly its cows leather, but it could be pigs, horses, goats, snakes, eels,
toads and much more. Its top quality is the fine grain which saves the original porous surface of the
animals skin. Then there is the coarse grain, which is lightly fluffed. Then again the nubuk, with
velvet-like surface. The split can be used for cladding pieces of furniture. The upper part of the
leather cut through its thickness becomes the fine grain and the lower part is the split, less precious.
Leather is the natural uncut skin. The industry offers embossed leathers; dotted, striped, with relief
patterns you name it. The use of leather depends from the designers taste and, why not, from is
ethic position towards animals. In case, my suggestion is to use only the fine grain, the best and softer
leather. The leather upkeep needs more care than the fabrics, but on the other side its elastically
isotropic. In other words it resists and stretches homogenously in all directions, while fabric resists
well in the warp sense, much less in the weft sense and it deforms very much in diagonal. To cover a
sofa, for example, all pieces of fabric must be cut and sawn in the same sense, while leather allows
for much more freedom. Unfortunately the best leather is also the more delicate. Finally, also leather
must be fireproof.

17.8. The leather imitation

The leather imitation doesnt have the scent and preciousness of real leather. Yet there are some
imitations that are as soft and pleasing to the touch as real leather. Sometimes theyre also more
expensive. These imitations are fit for some uses, like for the ceilings upholstery. Theyre produced
and sold in rolls, while animal skin has limited dimensions, which means joining several skins to get
large pieces. The leather imitation is easily washable: sometimes using it for sofa upholstery would
relax the vessels owner while kids run around wearing wet bathing suits and handling soft drinks.

17.9. The paint

Please see 8.7. I only wish to add that the deck teak must not be painted. The paint choice follows
several criteria. To mention just two, one is the colours: each one of them is internationally indicted
by a number called RAL (Rechtsausschu fr Lieferbedingungen). The RAL scale is divided in HR
for the matt colours and GL for the shiny ones. There are more than 2,000 colour codes. Another
criterion is the gloss, which indicates the grade of opacity of a painted surface. A totally opaque
surface has value 0, a perfectly shiny one has the hypothetic value 100: see figure # 89. It goes
without saying that the shinier is the surface, the easier is to spot every flaw.

Very Opaque Gloss value from 1 to 10

Opaque Gloss value from 11 to 30
Medium Opaque Gloss value from 31 to 40
Semi Opaque Gloss value from 41 to 50
Semi Shiny Gloss value from 51 to 80
Shiny Gloss value from 80

Fig. 89
Chapter 18
The deck arrangement

18.1. The aft cockpit

The vessels owner and his guests primarily enjoy the yacht in the open air, mainly in the aft
cockpit. Its near the main saloon door and there is no interruption between these areas. The cockpit
must be fitted with some pieces of furniture: a dining table, some chairs, possibly a sofa and a few
comfortable armchairs (see figure # 90 and # 91). There must be a set of dedicated lights and two or
more loudspeakers, connected to the hi-fi plant. The designer must foresee a locker, near the cockpit,
to store the shoes, which are forbidden on board. There might be a further locker for the gangway
commands, for the garage door, for an electric panel: but naturally it depends on the vessels size.

18.2. The sunbathing areas

Usually a set of large cushions is placed on the deck, ahead of the pilothouse. This position is
sheltered from the wind, as it tends to raise above the deck, and its private, because its far from the
stern and therefore from the pier. There could be sunbathing cushions also on the fly bridge. In any
case, the filling of the cushions must be made of a material which allows the water to flow thru, so the
cushions wouldnt be constantly soaked. The cushions shall be covered with imitation leather and
reupholstered with washable terry cloth (two sets). The cushions should rest on a teak grating, not
directly on the deck, to avoid the stagnation of water and humidity. In any case the cushions must be
fixed by means of snap buttons or else they would sure fly away. The designer must foresee a store-
away locker for the cushions.
Fig. 90

Fig. 91

18.3. The Fly bridge

Its the top bridge of a vessel: in 15.8 I wrote that the crew manoeuvres from this bridge in
restricted waters. Therefore there should be a second, external pilothouse. It shall have less
instruments than the main cockpit: at least the engines commands and gauges, the bow thruster joy
stick, the VHF radio and naturally the rudder wheel. All of this must be sheltered from the rain and
the spray. A feasible solution is shown in figure # 92: the instruments panel is covered by a
removable Plexiglas sheet. The fly bridge area should be furnished with chaises longues, some
pouffs, a bar, a dining table, may be a BBQ: whatever the designer might think of, to allow the
customer and his guests enjoying life in the open air. There could be a med-arch, which is a structure
crossing above the fly bridge: it might host a foldable or rolling set of canvas to protect the bridge
from the night damp.

Fig. 92
Chapter 19
The safety on board

19.1. The emergency escapes

The cabins could be far from a door leading outside, a stair, any kind of exit from the vessel. There
could be a long aisle, possibly also a flight of stairs to go from the lower deck to the main deck. The
crew and the guests must be able to reach safety in case of distress: the designer must foresee enough
emergency escape routes and escape hatches. It might happen that an emergency hatch from a lower
cabin ends up in a room on the upper bridge. Its plain that no piece of furniture should be designed
and placed in its way. The escape from the cabins shall be hidden below an easily removable ceiling
panel. The space between the ceiling and the upper floor must host a foldable stair or, if its not
feasible, a rigid portable stair could be hidden below a bed or inside a locker. In any case it must be
clearly signalled. For larger vessels the Registers require an emergency escape plan showing the
routes, the hatches and the muster stations: a set of labels shall be placed around the ship to direct the
passengers towards safety.

19.2. The life rafts and the life jackets

The Registers rule the number of emergency features for each vessel. The life rafts, also called
inflatable rafts, are large gears, either held in soft bags or hard shells. They must be placed in
easily accessible areas of the vessel, far from the bow (in case of collision) and far from the most
commons sources of blaze (the engine room and the kitchen). They should not be too far from the
LWL: the passengers should be enabled to jump into them without breaking their necks. The designer
must mandatory foresee (on the drawings and in the Tec Spec) a bolt-eye for each life raft. Each raft
has a pulling line which stretches when the raft is launched from the vessel, opens the gear and
inflates the raft. The same line holds the raft near the vessel while the passengers board it. The line
must be tied to the bolt-eye: if not, the raft would not inflate and would sink. Some rafts are fitted
with a pressure gauge: once it sinks, the gauge feels the water pressure and inflates the raft. Yet the
raft wouldnt be tied to the vessel and the wind would quickly push it far. A cheap feature like a bolt-
eye could save several human lives: therefore the designer should not forget it. There must be a life
jacket for each person on board. There must also be a sufficient number of life jackets for children.
The vessel must be fitted with one or more life buoys with a long line, tied to the vessel, and an
automatic light. Finally: some vessels have an EPIRB (Emergency Position Indication Radio
Beacon). Its a floating buoy which switches on automatically in case of distress (mainly sinking): it
transmits a code signal to a satellites network and shows the ships position to the rescue teams.
Chapter 20
The design for all

The design for all: a call for ethics

The World Health Organizations definition for disability is a complex interaction between
features of a persons body and features of the environment in which he or she lives Anyone of
us might be considered disabled once he finds himself in an unusual and uncomfortable situation. As
for physical disability in a situation that we consider normal, its up to doctors and caretakers to
help the special needs of a person, while its the designers duty to work on the environment. The first
motivating principle for a project dedicated to a disabled person is that only the knowledge of
problems and the design exploration brings to solutions. The second guideline is understanding that
peoples abilities change depending on the contest. The third and last approach is that design work is
bound to depend largely on constraints. On top of this theres a special ergonomic concept. The theme
that the designer must develop is easy to understand and difficult to achieve: the ship shall have no
ergonomic barriers and all parts of it shall be accessible by the customer. To begin with, all decks
must be steps-free. There must also be no steps throughout the inside arrangements, and so between
the aft cockpit and the saloon on main deck. This is a design issue which involves the ships official
certification, which the designer must keep as essential and easy as possible. The Maritime and
Coastguard Agency (MCA), for example, would never allow for sill-free side doors on the weather
deck. The side passageways concept on all decks is out of the ordinary: their width at deck level must
be 95 centimetres and 110 centimetres at handrails level. The handrail itself should be 120
centimetres high from the deck (instead of the standard 100 centimetres). This span would allow the
customer to use the handrails as a gym tool. The side doors on the passageways must be recessed into
the deck structure (figure # 93). This extra space gives enough room for a wheelchair to turn. It goes
without saying that such wide passageways reduce space inside: thats why its wise to design a large
hull, somehow beamier than usual.
Fig. 93

On the other side, slimmer decks help keeping the ships Gross Tonnage within the 500 figure
which, as I mentioned in Chapter 11, is our bugaboo. When a disabled customer docks he uses an
electric vehicle (figure # 94): its a wonderful, helpful, functional tool and yet its not designed to
resist sea water spray. The designer must therefore find the space for a dedicated garage on main
deck. The tool must be at a time sheltered and easily available. The market offers kind of a chair,
electric driven, easily removable, which helps the person with special needs to dive either in the sea
or in the Jacuzzi pool. This feature should be used in more than one place of the vessel, like on the aft
bathing platform and near the Jacuzzi pool (see figure # 95). A good way to connect the aft platform to
the cockpit is by means of one or two horizontal electric platforms shaped and dimensioned to hold a
wheelchair (figure # 96). The gangway should be specially built and have a floor width of 90
centimetres, plus two safety rails to guide the wheels.

Fig. 94
The vessel should be fitted with an electro-hydraulic elevator which serves all the bridges. The
cabin must be large enough to host the wheelchair and one caretaker.

Fig. 95

All the doors inside must have a net span of 85 centimetres and naturally have no sills. Some of
them might be sliding because this feature gives for an easier use to a disabled person.

Fig. 96

The toilet and shower shall comply with dedicated ergonomic standards and must foresee ample
space for caregivers to work (figure # 97). A small gym area might be forecasted somewhere in the
vessel. The spaces between coffee tables, couches and chairs must be carefully studied, and so the
dining room. The disabled customer should be entitled to choose any place at the table. All writings,
instructions, labels must also be printed in Braille, because the design should foresee all further
aspects of possible disability, like visual impairment, besides the motor disability. All materials and
furniture details should be chosen for the sake of safety and simplicity: hidden fixing hooks to hold the
wheelchair, no sharp corners, hard carpet floors, non-skid wooden floors. The crew is quite
important for such a design, dedicated to the disabled. Their areas should be designed following their
demands and their necessary will to go the extra mileage to be helpful. There should be an easy and
quick connection between the crew quarters and the customers cabin. The annex must have a square
pull-down bow to allow for an easy boarding of the wheelchair. Finally, we might call this attitude
design for all.

Fig. 97
Chapter 21
The refit

The refit of an old vessel

Sometimes, too few times actually, an inspired customer comes up with the idea of bringing back
to life an old vessel. She usually is an old tug boat, or a military ship, or a discharged cruise vessel.
The designer must be able to see below the old paint and the rust and ascertain whether a pearl is
sleeping there or if its only a wreck, just good for the foundry. In fact, most of these vessels are made
of steel: the wood ones tend to decay and disappear, but when they last long enough they are real
masterpieces of art. The steel structures of ships built up to the mid-fifties were riveted: more recent
vessels are welded. The first case creates a huge problem: nowadays its hard, not to say impossible,
to find workers who can rivet, and the type of steel used in the fifties isnt much good for welding.
The designers first task is to check whether the ship is still in a throughout sufficient shape: too much
restoring work might not be cost-effective and sometimes its worth abandoning the project. Quite
often the original building plans, calculations and paperwork concerning the ship are nowhere to be
found. When it happens its a hassle for the designer, who shall do a huge survey work to reconstruct
the necessary drawings and documents. To begin with, the designer should have an ultrasonic
inspection done. It reveals the thickness of the frames, of the floors, of the decks and of the plating.
Some corrosion should be expected and some steel plates replacement is common. The engine (or
engines), the machinery, the shaft line and the plants state might rise another possible headache. They
might or might not be working, but quite surely they wont abide to the present regulations. To name a
few, the wiring of the electric plant would not be to class, the exhaust gases would not comply with
the environment protection rules, the instruments would be out-of-date, the heat insulation material
comprises asbestos etcetera. The original arrangements shall be demolished, also to reach the
vessels structure and do the necessary repairs and maintenance. When the works start, every day
brings a surprise, something unexpected and unpredictable.
The designer has to face so many problems, and he must find a solution for each of them. Its about
impossible to outline a budget for the works or a delivery schedule for the vessel. Somebody might
wonder why a customer, a designer, a builder would ever put themselves in such a trouble: simply
because the satisfaction of restoring an old boat is priceless. Because she shall finally have a charm
that no new boat has. Because shes a piece of history, marine knowledge and culture. Because
transforming an old wreck into a beautiful ship is worth every sacrifice. Figures # 98 and # 99 show
a vessel that we refitted: at the beginning and at the end of the works.
Fig. 98

Fig. 99
Chapter 22
The drafting

22.1. The drawings dimensions

A drawing to scale is not a sufficient source of information for the workers who shall build the
vessel. The designer cannot expect the workers to measure an old, worn, dusted and stained print by
means of a folding rule inside a darkish cabin: and then get the beautiful result he has in mind. The
designer must dimension every part of his drawings. The origin of the measures should always be the
same: the centre line, the base line or the cabin floor. I know it sounds obvious, but please mind not to
change unit of measure between different drawings: if you choose millimetres, let it always be
millimetres. The builder will be grateful to the designer if he unifies the rounds radiuses, the shutters
dimensions, the drawers fronts and so on.

22.2. The drawings scale

The most commonly used scale is 1:10. Its intuitive for whoever is familiar with the metric
system. The vessel could be very large: in this event the scale of the drawings might be reduced to
1:20. Only the GA could be in scale 1:50 or even 1:100. In case the designer works with Anglo-
Saxon customers, the drawings scale should be 1:1, that is to say 1:12 in the metric system. Usually
the designer doesnt give the builder printed drawings but just electronic files. In any case the
drawings must be organized so that the prints (sooner or later theyll be made) wont have a bed-sheet
size. Indicatively the prints should not exceed the A1 dimension. Like this the workers will be able to
stick the print on a thin sheet of plywood, hang it somewhere or move it around the boat. Figure # 100
shows the UNI table of dimensions. Some drawings might be out of scale: typically the renders, the
details and the perspective drawings. And sometimes its suitable delivering out-of-scale drawings:
for example when the designer doesnt want the customer to go around the drawing with a metre tape
measuring the bedside tables, the chairs or other minor details of a GA (a useless headache) or hes
afraid that someone might be inspired by his drawings.

Size mm inches
A0 841 1189 33.1 46.8
A1 594 841 23.4 33.1
A2 420 594 16.5 23.4
A3 297 420 11.7 16.5
A4 210 297 8.3 11.7
A5 148 210 5.8 8.3
A6 150 148 4.1 5.8

Fig. 100
Chapter 23
The survey, the management and the sea trials

The designers task doesnt end with the drawings. The building works must be surveyed. The
surveyors assignment is to ascertain that the building works correspond to the drawings, to the Tec
Spec and to the BOQ. The designer acts as a project manager on behalf of his customer, and he might
have to deal with other managers, who work for the builder or for the suppliers. The good project
manager should have a problem-solving attitude, not a problem-arising one. Quite often one of the
project managers tasks, a delicate one, is to authorize the settlement of the building work state of
progress. Its a great responsibility, both towards the party who pays and towards the one who
cashes-in. The frequency and number of accesses of the designer to the builders premises is ruled by
the contract. Please remember that the shipyard is somebody elses property. At his arrival, the
designer should show up to the owner or to his representative and ask their permission to access the
building site. He should always beg permission to take pictures. The designer should never comment
the job with the workers or give them direct instructions. If the designer feels that the work isnt well
done, that theres some problem or if he wishes to do some modification, he should talk with the
production manager. Make it clear: during the construction works nobody is allowed to smoke on
board. The main reason is safety: so many vessels have been blazed during the building. Around the
ship theres glue, paint, thinner, wood scraps. The cigarette butts end up everywhere and pop out for
months after the vessel is delivered. The designer should always wear a helmet, without caring if
others dont. Lets say that hes giving a good example. The designer should listen to experienced
workers: sometimes they know better. Out of my experience I can say that for each work I did, I learnt
two things for each one that I taught. The time will come when the vessel is afloat: be it still under the
builders responsibility, or under the captains, please abide to

Principle number twenty one: ALWAYS beg permission before boarding a vessel.

The designer should also witness the vessels tests, which are:
FAT or factory acceptance tests (all the features and machinery that can be tested aground);
HAT or harbor acceptance tests (all the machinery that can be tested with the vessel afloat,
moored to a pier);
SAT or sea acceptance trials (speed, seakeeping, noise, vibrations, steering etcetera).
Digest of Massimos principles

Principle number one: the reference network must show, exactly alike, on each and every
drawing of the vessel.

Principle number two: a computer is not an intelligent machine that helps the fool: on the
contrary, its a fool machine that only works in the hands of the intelligent.

Principle number three: during my long career Ive never seen a vessel that, at launching,
proved to be lighter than expected.

Principle number four: as a general rule, straightening a stern-down vessel is feasible, even if it
might be difficult. Straightening a bow-down vessel is about impossible.

Principle number five: dont ever attempt to balance the weights of a vessel by the fuel or the
water tanks.

Principle number six: the weight of a ship can roughly be divided into three main blocks. One
third is the structures; one third is the arrangements; one third is the machinery and the plants.

Principle number seven: yachts are made by centimetres, not by metres.

Principle number eight: checking twice never killed anybody.

Principle number nine: spoken words fly, written words remain.

Principle number ten: for each metre of the vessels length there is a kilometre of wires and

Principle number eleven: no single part of the vessel lives an independent life, but theyre all
strictly linked together such that every modification done to one will necessarily bring a change
to all the others.

Principle number twelve: the human body dimensions do not shrink only because the boats
rooms are narrow.

Principle number fourteen: the yacht is always designed with her bow to the right.

Principle number fifteen: every new design starts from the ending point of the previous one.

Principle number sixteen: in this *** boat theres not enough space.
Principle number eighteen: all modifications done to a drawing must immediately be copied on
all the others.

Principle number nineteen: all the closed volumes of the vessel must be easily accessible.

Principle number twenty: you cannot be an interior designer unless youre familiar with the

Principle number twenty one: ALWAYS beg permission before boarding a vessel.

Conversion Table
1 inch = 2.54 centimetres = 25.4 millimetres
1 foot = 0.305 metre = 30.48 centimetres
1 yard = 0.9144 metre
1 mile = 1.61 kilometres = 5.280 feet
1 kilometre = 1000 metres = 0.6214 statute mile
1 metre = 100 centimetres = 1000 millimetres
1 metre = 3.28 feet
1 centimetre = 0.3937 inch = 10 millimetres
1 millimetre = 0.039 inch = 0.1 centimetre
1 nautical mile = 1852 metres = 1.852 kilometres
1 kilolitre = 1000 litres = 1 cubic metres
1 litre = 1000 millilitres = 1000 cc
1 fluid once = 29.57 millilitres
1 US gallon = 3.785 litres
1 Imperial gallon = 4.546 litres
1 kilogram = 1000 grams = 2.2 pounds
1 gram = 1000 milligrams = 0.035 ounce
1 pound = 0.45 kilogram = 16 ounces
1 ounce = 28.35 grams
1 kW = 1.360 PS = 1.341 bhp
1 bhp = 1.014 PS

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The author

Massimo Gregori Grgi was born in Florence too many years ago. His experience starts in the
70s with the Westlawn School of Yacht Design. In 1976 he founded Yankee Delta Studio and since
then never stopped designing yachts. He has taught in the Yacht Design Masters of Milan, Venice and
Shanghai. He lives and works in a farm on the Tuscany hills.
Massimos e-mail address is




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